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Stalemate As Referee Slaps JM Liberty FC Player


January 21, (THEWILL) – There was pandemonium as the friendly match between the two Makurdi-based clubs Lobi Stars FC and JM Liberty FC on Thursday at the Aper Aku stadium Makurdi, which ended in stalemate following the misconduct of the central referee.

Sixty minutes into the second half of the game, when Lobi Stars FC were leading 4-2, the National Grade One referee and member of the Benue State Referee Council, Mr Damian Akure who officiated the match, displayed a human failure and lack of control of the game by issuing a red Card to a player of JM Liberty FC, Sule Wisdom.

Going ahead he slapped the player, thereby bringing disrepute to the game of football in the country as well as the Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

Just as it is with a competitive football game, so it is with a friendly match when match officials are expected to apply the rules of the game, by maintaining orderliness which Akure proved to the contrary by show of unprofessional conduct before spectators.

The attention of the NRA and the NFF was drawn to this unethical act of the referee which was not supposed to be demonstrated even in a grassroot match played in hamlet, let alone a match involving NPFL and NNL sides in an ultra modern stadium in the city of Makurdi, the Benue state capital.

Benue state chairman of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), John Shiaondo expressed disgust over the ugly situation, calling on relevant regulatory bodies to act fast to tame the emerging trend.

He insisted that if such is allowed to grow, it is capable of motivating fans to emulate it, promising to mobilise members of the association to write against such and to bring the referee to book to serve as a deterrent to others.