May 24, 2024

Referees’ strike over unpaid allowances disrupts play at NBBF Premier League’s Ibadan Centre

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By Our Correspondent


A strike by referees at the ongoing Atlantic Conference Ibadan Playoffs of the 2023 Nigeria Basketball Premier League on Friday disrupted matches at the Centre.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the officials embarked on the strike as a result of unpaid allowances, leading to the stoppage of the day’s first match.


They claimed that they were yet to be paid any of the allowances for feeding, accommodation and their task since the competition got underway on Sunday.


A referee who spoke with NAN on condition of anonymity said the umpires at the competition had been using their personal funds to run their stay in Ibadan.


“Many of us travelled down to officiate, but feeding and accommodation have been from our purse. This is unacceptable and we can’t continue with that any more.


“And we know that if we continue officiating we may end up not being paid for services rendered. So, this is even a collective decision of the referees in all the centres where the competition is being played presently.

“We in the Atlantic Conference agreed on this strike, and you should know that those at the Asaba Centre are also observing the strike.


“But we will resume officiating once our allowances are paid,’” the referee said.

However, following the intervention of some officials of the Oyo State Basketball Association and the pleas by some players and team officials, the referees backed down.


They agreed to allow the first match of the day — Ebun Comets of Lagos versus Hoops and Reads of Lagos — take place.

The match at the indoor sports hall of the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium was billed to start at 10 a.m, but as a result of the strike it did not begin until 11 a.m.

Ebun Comets went on to beat Hoops and Reads 72-61.


Speaking on the situation, Damola Awosika, the Vice-Chairman of Oyo State Basketball Association, described the situation as unfair and not right.


Awosika said the officials had been in Ibadan since Saturday and have been working in the past six days, and it was inhuman for them not to get their benefits.


“This is not a good development and not fair on the officials,” he said.

NAN reports that the day’s other scheduled matches were later played.

Oluyole Warriors beat Invaders of Ekiti 84-45, while Impressions of Delta beat Ondo Raiders 57-43.


NAN reports that the competition which is being organised by the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) will end on Saturday, after seven days of three matches daily.


Three matches are on the bill, and the top four clubs after the total number of 21 matches will progress to the next phase of the league.(NAN)

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