The sub-standard allowances dished out to referees for officiating premiership matches during the previous football seasons have forced the National Referee Committee (NRC) to request for financial assistance from the Namibia Premier League (NPL)’s Board of Governors (BoG).
The standard of refereeing has been under the spotlight with the ‘men in the middle of the park’ being levelled with all kinds of accusations such as bad decisions making, wrongfully awarding penalties and concerns about their fitness level.
Currently, professional referees get a mere N$450 allowance per match while the assistant referees pocket a paltry N$250.
In a frank interview, NRC chairperson, Rudolph Mupiri, told V-Sports that the main challenge confronting referees is the poor payment they receive.
“We submitted a financial request to the NPL’s BoG at their Annual General Assembly earlier this month but to date, we have not received any official correspondence from them,” said Mupiri adding that the request was done through the Namibia Football Association (NFA)’s secretary-general’s office.
Apart from financial assistance, Mupiri said they also asked for assistance in conducting referee courses during the 2012/13 football season.
“We based our request on the fact that NPL will receive more financial sponsorship from MTC and the fact that there will be increment in this season’s prize monies. Those are some of the reasons that prompted us to request for financial help,” stressed the chairperson adding that it is sad to have a referee getting a mere N$450 per match while this year’s premiership champion is expected to pocket over N$1m prize money, for instance.
“Referees must get a reasonable allowance that would stop them from being bribed, not that it is not happening but it is better to avoid such happenings,” he added.
Mupiri said they did not submit any specific amount to the NPL’s BoG but rather made a simple request for possible consideration.
On the issue of referees’ preparedness for the 2012/13 season scheduled to kick off this Friday, Mupiri said a fitness referee course was recently conducted and the number of referees for Premier League matches had increased from eight to 11 while the number of assistant referees had been upped from 17 to 19, respectively.
On his part, NPL’s head of marketing and sponsorship, Mabos Vries, confirmed NRC’s request but only the one regarding assistance with organising more referee fitness courses, nothing to do with funds; “Their request came through the NFA’s secretary-general’s office but nothing was mentioned with regards to financial assistance to referees and their assistants.” He said as the chairperson, he was not aware of such a request and that if such a request had indeed been submitted, what could be the reasons, he asked adding; “I admit that the standard of our referees has tremendously improved now that we have recently seen some of our referees officiating at the Caf’s matches.” Vries added that the BoG will definitely consider NRC’s request (but only) as far as assistance for more referee courses is concerned.
Defending champions, Black Africa, will kick-start this season against township foes, Orlando Pirates.