President of the Nigeria Referees Association Sanni Zubair has hinted that plans are ongoing to deploy video assistant referees in the Nigeria Professional Football League from the incoming 2023/24 season.
The new season kicks off on Saturday with the opening fixture between 3SC and Plateau United in Ibadan.
Zubair noted that the introduction of VAR will further enhance the performance of the referees, even now that most of the matches in the league will be streamed with newly procured AI cameras.
“There are talks around it. We thought we would have got it this time around but maybe before the start of the league or when the league is on. I know they are working towards it and we are aware of that and since we are going to be having our matches streamed live,” Zubair told our correspondent.
During the elective congress of the NRA which produced Zubairu as the president of the body in April, the president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Ibrahim Gusau, announced that the body will build VARs in selected regional stadiums across the country, a proposal the NRA is already anticipating its implementation.
“Football is now being played with technology and we must move with the pace of the world as well. If the NFF provides VARs in some centres, it will help the performance of our referees as well,” NRA president, Zubairu told our correspondent.
“On our own, according to our plans, we will ensure the adequate training of our referees to meet up with the best global practices.”
Zubair, a retired FIFA-badged referee also raised hopes about improved officiating in the incoming season.
“The league is commencing this weekend and we are ready for it. We already had our 10-day seminar for referees and assistants referees to improve them technically and physically. We also updated them on the laws of the game in line with global practices.
“We don’t expect less from what they did last season in terms of performance and confidence from our referees,” Zubair said.