AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The Referees Committee of the All India Football Federation met at the Football House, in New Delhi, on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, to discuss different ways of development for the referees in India.
The meeting was chaired by Mr K Sankar, a former referee, who was the only Indian to officiate in a FIFA World Cup (2002), and attended by Vice Chairperson Mr SM Balu, and members Mr Mohd. Kamil, Ms Chaitali Paul, Mr C Sethumadhavan, and Mr Subrata Sarkar. AIFF Secretary General, Dr Shaji Prabhakaran, Deputy Secretary General Mr Satyanarayan M, and Chief Refereeing Officer Mr Trevor Kettle were present in the meeting.
Dr Prabhakaran welcomed the committee in his opening remarks and stressed on the importance of developing referees in the country. He said, “I would like to warmly welcome all the members of the Committee. You have all been appointed for the benefit of Indian Football, and the aim for us all is to develop our Indian referees at all levels to the best of our abilities, in order to ensure a robust and all-round upward movement of football in the country.”
Referees Committee chairperson Mr Sankar said, “I, along with my vice chairperson Mr Balu, and our Committee members would like to thank President Mr Kalyan Chaubey, Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran, Deputy Secretary General Mr Satyanarayan M, and the Executive Committee members for providing us the opportunity to work for the development of refereeing in India. We would like to use our experience at the highest level towards the development of refereeing in India.
“After discussions with my vice chairperson Mr Balu and CRO Mr Kettle, I can see that we are all on the same page in terms of the policies that need to be undertaken in order to ensure the further growth of the referees in India,” he said.
The Committee felt that in order to ensure the long-term growth of refereeing in India, there needs to be more focus on referees at the state level, especially those below the age of 32, and on women referees. The members agreed that encouraging and promoting a younger generation of referees will pay dividends in the long run.
The CRO and the chairperson recommended the introduction of a Licensed Referee Instructor by May 31, 2024, with a further two Licensed Referee Instructors being assigned to each Member Association by May 31, 2025. The chief aim of this recommendation is to introduce a professional approach towards refereeing, at both the professional and the amateur levels.
The Committee members also agreed that fitness is a key issue that needs to take precedence across all levels of refereeing in the country.The Referee Department of the AIFF has also appointed two former FIFA Referees – Mr Rowan A and Mr Srikrishna – into its management structure as Referee Coaches.