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Referees Association defends Funsho Ajayi after Kano incident

Nigeria Referees Association (NRA) has defended Funsho Ajayi who handled the Nigeria Professional Football League opener between Kano Pillars and FC IfeanyiUbah on Saturday.

Ajayi had blown the half-time whistle just immediately after FC IfeanyiUbah took a freekick, and before the ball entered the net.

The incident led to protest by the visiting team, and as a result abandoned the game just three minutes into the second half. Pillars were leading 1-0 at the time, with goal from Mohammed Gambo.

The LMC had referred Ajayi to the NFF for failing “to meet up with the high standard expected in the Nigeria Professional Football League and exhibiting unsatisfactory game management”.

The LMC recommended that Ajayi be withdrawn from consideration for future NPFL matches, pending a full review into her performance.

But in a statement on Tuesday, the NRA says Ajayi’s decision is in line and has not breached any rule of the game.

“The NRA considers it necessary to state that the action of the referee ( Kano Pillars vs Ifeanyi Uba) with regards to Duration/ Time of each half is within the ambit of the Laws of the Game as LAW 7 – THE DURATION OF THE GAME states that “The match lasts two equal periods of 45 minutes, unless otherwise mutually agreed between the referee and the two teams, adding that “The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee” Therefore, It is pertinent to note that the Laws of Game does not allow for extension of time for play after normal time of play allowed therein has expired, except for Penalty Kick, in which the duration of either half is extended until the penalty kick is completed and outcome known.

“The Kano incident has opened another chapter in the domestic game which somehow suggests that some clubs or players may not be properly in tune or acquainted with trending modern day football laws and rules especially now the Laws of the Game have undergone a major amendment since June 2016 with its implementation in 2017 football session in Nigeria.

“Apart from asking relevant authorities in Nigeria to seek a means of enlightening Clubs, officials and players on the Laws of Game, the NRA has well grounded and knowledgeable FIFA and CAF trained Referees Instructors who can be despatched to tutor clubs on laws guiding the round leather game. The NRA urges clubs and players to avail themselves this opportunity for better understanding in future engagements.”

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