Indian Football Referees

Arsenalkid700Arsenalkid700 7 Points
Thought it was time to start this thread as Referees in India have been a big topic.

How do we improve them? How do we find the best ones? Who do we bring in? How do we teach and stay within a set budget?


  • For me the quality of Referees is super poor and I am sure all of you agree. Most of them are biased, dont know what they are doing and sometimes they are way to overweight to run a game.

    In my opinion that referee class AIFF just had was a good step but we need to take it a step forward. We need referees from Maharashtra, Kolkata, and Goa because those are the places that do refereeing courses. But we need more to.

    What I think we should do is to form a new organization called the Indian Professional Referee Organization (IPRO). Here we should get 1 head referee and around 6 assistant head referees to teach and run the organization and then IPRO should be assigned to pick the best referees in Maharashtra, Goa, and Kolkata and bring them to Delhi to learn more about refereeing. After the course a total of 35 referees should be selected to be scattered across I-League games.

    Now in order to organize the I-League match-weeks, the AIFF should make the schedule and IPRO should be the ones who assigns which referees should be sent for that game. That way we could know who the referees are and possibly see better refereeing to.

    Also this would lighten what AIFF already have to do as they have a big list.
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India29696 Points

    Poor standards, lack of exposure keep Indian football refereeing down

    • Referees in India have drawn a lot of flak in recent times
    • Coaches and players from the Indian Super League and the I-League have expressed their displeasure
    • Indian referees have failed to make the cut for FIFA World Cups since the 2002 edition
    Poor standards and lack of sufficient exposure are the major reasons Indian referees have failed to make the cut for the World Cup since Komaleswaran Sankar broke new ground by officiating at soccer's showpiece event 16 years back, feel experts.

    "We have the acumen and refereeing in India is going in the right direction. But in modern times, refereeing has become more scientific and unless you have proper exposure to international tournaments, you cannot officiate in a World Cup game," Sankar told IANS over the phone.

    "We need to give referees more exposure and they should be part of higher-level continental matches on a more regular basis. I feel we could be there soon; it's just that the exposure on a consistent basis is missing," he said.

    Sankar is still the only referee in the nation of 1.3 billion people to have made it to the pinnacle of the sport. The Chennai-based man took the field as assistant referee in three games of the 2002 World Cup hosted jointly by Japan and Korea.

    Referees in India have drawn a lot of flak in recent times with coaches and players from the Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League expressing their displeasure at the match officials' performance.

    Sankar, though, disagreed that their standards were poor.

    "I don't agree with this view. Human errors are everywhere. I have seen the games and have not seen any instance of a poor decision affecting the outcome of the match. We referees need support from all corners to succeed," he added.

    The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is hopeful of having at least one referee from the country at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but at the same time concedes it won't be easy considering the steep selection criteria.

    "There have been various reasons for not having referees for the men's World Cup," AIFF Head of Referees Col. Goutam Kar said.

    "The target is to have at least one referee in the probables list for the 2022 World Cup. We are preparing for that and training the referees in such a manner. But it won't be easy."

    By early next year, FIFA is expected to announce the list of probable referees for the 2022 World Cup.

    With India unlikely to have a referee at the 2019 Asian Cup and lacking the numbers in the AFC Champions League (ACL) at present -- only Arumughan Rowan has been in the ACL panel -- chances of a second name being added to the elite list along with Sankar are dim.

    "It won't be easy. We don't have too many referees at the top flight in the AFC at present," said Kar.

    "What Sankar achieved was on his own. The AIFF did not have a referees department back then. It was his credit," he added.

    In 2010, FIFA had asked the AIFF to form a referees department for their development.

    "There was no proper structure before that. I joined in 2011 after the referees department was formed. There were two things that needed to be done. Proper documentation and referee education," Kar said.

    There is a Referee Identification Number (RIN) now where close to 7,000 officials are registered. This, Kar said, prevents age fudging which used to be the norm before.

    "It will thus take time for referees from India to regularly feature in World Cups. It's just been over six years that we had a dedicated department," he noted.

    India at the moment has a quota of six men referees and eight assistant referees and two female referees and assistant referees each.

    While Sankar and Kar stuck to their guns saying they are on the right path, former India striker and AIFF technical committee chairman Shyam Thapa was more critical.

    "How can we expect to have Indian referees in World Cups when the team is ranked close to 100?

    "Yes the national team is doing well of late, but our referees are nowhere near the best in Asia. I don't see that changing soon
  • munna219777munna219777 28514 Points
    ISL has ended, Cuts start now. Now they dont need Referees till September. :#
  • AIFF  have appointed Mr. Yoshihiro Sugeta, Japanese National n ExReferee as an Advisor to
    Referees Committee for Development of Referees.
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India29696 Points

    Once India qualifies for FIFA World Cup, football would be the next cricket in India: Former FIFA referee Rizwan-ul Haq

    If you ever happen to talk football with one of India’s most prolific referees and India’s first-ever in the FIFA elite panel, you are very much likely to mistake him for the guy next door. Years after blowing his final whistle as a FIFA referee and later as a national referee, Rizwan-ul Haq still lives and breathes the game that has given him everything but he never wore an aura around him, neither when he was officiating nor when he is associated with the game in an administrative role in the Delhi football circuit.

    Rizwan began as a footballer wanting to enter the national team and was even part of the National Under-15 side. He was even named in the senior team probables but when he couldn’t make it to the team, he tried his luck in officiating, much like his father FIFA referee (late) Ikram-Ul Haq and began as a Class III referee in 1988.

    In an exclusive chat with The Statesman, Rizwan talked at length about football, his experiences as a referee, and what India needs to do to emerge as the next sporting powerhouse.

    [Deleted User]munna219777indian_gooner
  • thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India29696 Points

    The Whistleblowers: Referees in the line of fire

    Air Force men, engineers, teachers

    In the underdeveloped ecosystem of Indian football, refereeing has often been an afterthought.

    In England, the refs became professional 20 years ago. In India, for all practical reasons, it’s started to happen just last year.

    While criticising the standard of refereeing, it is important to note that until 2022, the match officials were forced to juggle between a proper day job to support their families and pursuing their hobby.

    Gupta was a technician in the Indian Air Force for 20 years and was stationed in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat. Nathan worked for tennis star Somdev Devvarman’s adventure sports company in Chennai, organising obstacle course races, triathlons and mountain adventure races. Kundu was a PT teacher at a school in Delhi, where he also taught them football while R Venkatesh was a chemical engineer.

    On paper, football might only have 17 laws but in a match, Nathan says they have to process around ‘250-300 situations’.

    All of them took to refereeing either because they suffered injuries as amateur footballers or came to a sobering conclusion that they wouldn’t make it big as players. And even though refereeing let them stay connected with the game, it was hardly a viable career option.

    “Earlier, we used to get Rs 30,000 per month while the assistant referees got Rs 25,000 per month,” Venkatesh says. “After Trevor joined, we are getting Rs 50,000 and Rs 45,000 per month, respectively. So it helps us focus more on refereeing and it’s also motivating for the younger generation. Before, we had to do something else to run our family.”

    While the cream of Indian footballers earn upwards of a crore per season, which enables them to focus solely on improving their fitness and tactical understanding, and managers too are compensated handsomely, the referees were left behind in this aspect, which stunted their growth for years.

    Playing catch-up

    On paper, football might only have 17 laws but in a match, Nathan says they have to process around ‘250-300 situations’. Applying rules to those match situations requires high physical fitness and mental alertness, which was tough while carrying out two jobs and tougher also because of lack of matches.

    A perennial problem for India from a players’ perspective has been the lack of games. That issue is worse for the referees, who get fewer matches in a season than a player. In the first few years of the ISL, the situation was so bad that India had to import referees. That’s not the case now, but after being neglected for decades, Indian referees are playing catch-up, just like the players vis-à-vis their counterparts from mature football nations.

    Last year, after the new All India Football Federation administration took charge, one of their first decisions was to hand professional contracts to the top eight referees, with the number likely to increase in the coming years.

    These referees have their own coaches and analysts, who simulate match situations, provide strategic inputs and dissect their performances after each match. “We study the teams’ strategies, the formations they use in situations when they are winning a match or losing, the timing of their substitutions, the behaviour of the benches, the discreet signals players use during set-pieces… it’s pretty elaborate,” Gupta says.

    Making referees mentally strong

    During the recently-concluded season, Kettle introduced a concept that the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body that is responsible for refereeing in England and now involved in the Indian top tier, introduced in the Premier League and other divisions. “It’s called ‘Let’s Play’,” Nathan says. “Basically, the idea is to let the game flow.”

    Kettle says the idea behind the ‘Let’s Play’ concept is to make the game more exciting for the viewing public. This also means an additional emphasis on fitness, with Kundu saying the referees now have to maintain the same body-fat level as players (around 12-15 per cent).

    Kettle isn’t worried about the fitness bit – “they are some of the fittest referees I’ve dealt with,” he underlines – but in his immediate analysis, he realised the problem was more in the mind. “Mentally, not strong enough,” Kettle says. “That has come out slightly in my analysis of the key match incidents, especially when I start looking at the accuracy of serious foul play, violent conduct and dealing with those serious incidents. So that’s going to be a focus for us next season.”

    “Mistakes are never going to go away,” Gupta admits. “Our aim is to reduce blunders. And from that point of view, we are headed in the right direction.”

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