Benson Chukwueke Benson Chukwueke Author
Title: Become A Grade1 Football Referee in Nigeria – The Easy Way
Author: Benson Chukwueke
Rating 5 of 5 Des:
 Do you really want to be a football referee?


 Do you really want to be a football referee?


I don’t know about elsewhere, being a football referee in Nigeria isn’t a very pretty idea. Except you have such a ‘die-hard passion’ for blowing the whistle and officiating football games. I won’t advice you to go there if you are trying to make a living out of it.

Refereeing isn’t suppose to be a means of livelihood, but a hobby where you can earn some extra cash.

I’ll not hide anything from you, refereeing in Nigeria will really challenge your integrity as a person. Unless, of-course, you are willing to compromise or you’re such an agent of change who isn’t afraid to be martyr for this cause.

Referees in Nigeria face more hazardous risk while officiating in fanatical venue and there seems to be little or no protection for them.

If you are a referee in Nigeria, you are unlikely to officiate in major tournaments organized by CAF or FIFA. So it’ll be very difficult for you to become an international referee and earn hard currency. The question of massive corruption in the Nigerian football terrain has blacklisted even the good ones here. I hope you understand these intricacies.

Otherwise, I can list out some of the numerous benefits Referees derive in Nigeria:
  • First and foremost, refereeing helps you keep fit and healthy.
  • You can have extra source of income from officiating matches.
  • You have access to stadium facilities in Nigeria and or abroad.
  • You will be well traveled and acquainted with the diverse cultures in Nigeria.
  • It gives you the opportunity to meet and mingle with different professionals.

To become a football referee in Nigeria, you can follow any of the two options.

You can locate a Referee society in your area. There is probably a referee society somewhere not too far from you. They normally have their keep fit exercise on their own chosen days, more on weekends, in stadium or sports complex that is convenient.

When you locate them, you will be required to write an application leter to become a member. There are some criteria needed to be met anyway:
  1. You must be 16 years or above.
  2. You must be physically and mentally fit.
  3. You must have a source of livelihood.
  4. You must have someone recommend you.

After you have been screened, you will start as a referee in training for 2 years then, you sit for an exam conducted by Nigeria Referees Association (NRA). After passing the exam, you are promoted to Grade 3 Referee. After 3 years, you sit for another exam, and if you pass, you get promoted to Grade 2. After 3 years again, you sit for another exam, if you scale it, you get promoted to Grade1.

At that grade you no longer sit for any exam, but go for NRA physical test, which is held every year at the national stadium Abuja before the football season begins.



This first option is a more complex process that could take you between 9 to 12 years before you can begin to handle major league matches – that’s pretty long.

There is an easy and fast means now. You can become a Grade1 Referee in just 3 years or so.

You can enroll into the Referees Academy in Abuja. After 2 years training and exams in the academy (which covers grade 3 and 2 curriculum), you become affiliated to NRA. Then you sit for their final exams and from there you graduate and become an international Referee.

NFF have given state Referees councils mandate to set up academies in every state of the federation.  The academies will only accept graduates from recognized tertiary institutions – University, Polytechnics, and College of Education as the case may be. People with this level of education are deemed to have high intelligent quotient needed to run such short course in the academy.


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