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Referees’ growth is critical to Nigerian sports development and international recognition ~ Gov Diri

by Lesley Ngwa
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The governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri has emphasized the importance of Referees to Nigeria attaining enviable heights in world football.

Governor Diri stated this during the 2024 Nigeria Football Referees Association, Annual General Meeting on Thursday, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Capital.

Governor Diri who was represented by the commissioner for Sports Development, Bayelsa State, Honourable Daniel Igali, said Referees play a vital role in the outcome of games, hence the need for them to be fair and professional.

Igali commended the progress Nigerian Referees have made overtime while advocating for a better welfare which will aid them to being fair and just in the discharge of their duties.

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to the General Annual Meeting of the Nigeria Referees Association here in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in 2024. I extend a warm welcome to all referees, officials, and distinguished guests present here today”.

“Although Governor Douye Diri, the Governor of Bayelsa State, expresses his regrets for not being able to join us due to official assignments, his spirit and passion for sports and football development resonate strongly in the initiatives and achievements we see around us”.

“Referees play a crucial role in the development of football, ensuring fair play and equity in sports”.

“As we look to the future, we call upon referees to uphold the highest standards of officiating, preparing themselves for international stages and contributing to the growth of football worldwide. Bayelsa State stands ready to collaborate and support initiatives that will benefit football and sports in general, fostering mutual growth and success”. Igali said.

The world and Olympic champion also spoke about the plans of the state government being in top gear to build a befitting stadium in the state.

Daniel Igali reiterated the Bayelsa State government’s resolve to using sports as a cornerstone for human capital development.

“As we gather here in Bayelsa State, a state that has positioned itself as a hub for sports, especially football, we are reminded of the remarkable milestones achieved in the realm of sports”.

“Bayelsa State has already hosted four national sporting events this year, with more to come before the year’s end. Sports remain a cornerstone of this administration’s commitment to prosperity and development”.

“Grand parents always tell their grand children to dream a size too big so they can fit into them. Beginning the third quarter of 2024, in order to contain Bayelsa’s massive sports appetite, His excellency Sen. Douye Diri has committed to building a 30,000 sitter capacity stadium in Yenagoa”. Igali stated.

“I hereby declare the Annual general meeting of the Nigeria football referees association, Bayelsa 2024, OPEN”. Daniel Igali declared.

The President Nigeria Referees Association, Alhj. Sani Zubair while appreciating the massive support it gained from the AGM appreciated the Bayelsa State Governor for his sporting drive.

Sani Zubair expressed that the news of the Governor’s love for sports development is being discussed in the industry as a symbol of hope.

Sani opined that Nigerian Referees Association will continue to do its best in equipping Referees with latest innovations, stressing the association’s effort in seeing Nigerian Referees partake at international events.


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