How to Become a Professional Football Referee in NIgeria


Are you passionate about football and you are wondering how to become a football referee in Nigeria? Then, this article is for you. Being a professional football referee in Nigeria can be fulfilling and rewarding. Football referees are responsible for overseeing games, and enforcing rules and regulations, when necessary. Football referees play vital roles in every football game. We will examine who a football referee is, how to become a football referee in Nigeria, the vital skills of a football referee, the job description of a football referee, and the average pay of a football referee per officiated match or game in Nigeria.  

Who is a Football Referee? 

A football referee is a professional who officiates, supervises, and enforces football rules and regulations during a football match or game. The main responsibility of a referee is to ensure and maintain order, and fairness, and make decisions regarding penalties, foul plays, goals, and any other aspects of the sport that may occur during games. The football referee also possesses the absolute power to pause, stop or remove any player if rules and regulations are not followed. The referee is responsible for ensuring that every football game is under the law of the game. Football referees are of diverse levels in the sport, they help at grassroots level, amateur games, professional level, as well as national and international competition levels. There are different organizations affiliated with the National Football Association or governing bodies such as FIFA that offer professional training and certifications to football referees. To become a football referee in Nigeria, it is important to have sports and football knowledge as well as professional certifications or bachelor’s degree in related fields such as Human Kinetics, Sport Sciences, Physical Education, Sports Analysis, and so on, and become a registered member of the Nigeria Referees Association. One or more assistant referees usually assist referees during a match or game. 

 Read Also: How to Become a professional football scout in Nigeria

Referee using hand and verbal communication

Job Description of a Football Referee  

  • Maintain and ensure absolute fairness, order, and compliance with the rules and regulations of the sport during the match or game. 
  • Conduct pre-match inspections, player eligibility checks, timekeeping, substitution management, and issuing of disciplinary actions during the game.  
  • Enforce and be well knowledgeable about the laws of the game established by the International Football Association Board (IFAB)  
  • Communicate by using football hand signals and verbal communication while also using wireless communication systems during a match 
  • Use Video Assistant Referees (VAR) technologies to review incidents on video playback to ensure correct decision making 
  • Prevent any misconduct that may affect the outcome of the game by pausing, stopping, or removing a player when necessary  
  •  Maintain professionalism during pre-match check, during the football match, and after the football match 
  • Ensure absolute timekeeping and management including stoppages and extra times 
  • Make quick and accurate decisions regarding foul plays, penalties, goals, or any other issue that may arise during the game without any form of bias. 

Notable Skills of a Football Referee 

A football referee must possess some of the following skills 

  • Vital Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Skills 
  • Excellent knowledge of the Laws of the game 
  • Ability to stay in trend and up to date regarding football news and changes 
  • Adaptability and Resilience skills 
  • Confidence Skills 
  • Problem Solving skills 
  • Swift decision-making Skills 
  • Consistency Skills 
  • Fairness and Sense of Just 
  • Positioning and game awareness skills 
  • Optimal physical and psychological fitness 
  • High conflict management skills 

Average Salary of a Football Referee in Nigeria  

The average salary of a professional football referee is between 70,000 NGN and 100,000 NGN per game officiated according to Opera

How to Become a Professional Football Referee in Nigeria 

Becoming a football referee in Nigeria will mostly involve the following: 

  • Bachelor’s Degree in any related field like physical education, sports sciences, human kinetics, and so on 
  • Mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) 
  • Professional Certifications by a licensed body affiliated with National Football Association (NFA) or FIFA 
  • Absolute and continuous knowledge of football trends and changes at national and international levels.  

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