The AIFF Referees Committee Meeting was held at the Football House in New Delhi on Monday, November 7, 2022, and was chaired by former FIFA referee Mr. Michael Andrews.
AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran was present to address the Referees Committee, and was also accompanied by Deputy Secretary General Mr. Sunando Dhar, along with Committee Vice Chairman Mr. Magho Singh.
The Committee had a full attendance on Monday, with the presence of Members from all across India – Mr. SM Balu, Mr. Rizwan Ul Haq, Mr. Walter Pereira, Mr. Dhanraj More, Mr. Udayan Halder, Mr. Mohammed Ali, Ms. Maria Rebello, Mr. Lalrawngbawla, and the Chief Refereeing Officer Mr. Trevor Kettle.
The new Referees Committee unanimously thanked the previous Committee Members for their service to Indian Football and the work they took up for the promotion of refereeing in India.
The Referees Committee, in its first order of the day, deliberated on the Elite Referees Development Programme which will be a joint-venture of AIFF and its marketing partners FSDL. While explaining to the Committee of the policy, the Chief Refereeing Officer Mr. Trevor Kettle spoke about the proposed five-year plan on several issues like transition to professional refereeing, state engagement in referee development, and introduction of technology in the Indian refereeing system. The Committee has agreed in principle about the project and has decided to review the existing policy and prepare a new one as per the requirements before taking up with the AIFF management for successful implementation.
The Committee recommended that one person one post policy would be followed regarding the appointment of MCs and RAs at the national level. The Committee felt that anybody operating on a dual role could be a hindrance towards delivering their best in terms of match operations.
It was recommended that the referees who are inactive at the moment, for some reason or the other, be requested to activate themselves through the online portal, RASI by December 31, 2022.
The Committee also recommended the appointment of a State Referees Officer and a Referee Assessors’ Manager.
In his message to the Referees Committee, AIFF President Mr. Kalyan Chaubey spoke about his plans of having 50 professional referees on full-time role with the AIFF, in order to help them focus on their craft.
“We will be making a number of reforms, and restructuring the way we operate in terms of refereeing,” said Mr. Chaubey. “Overall, we intend to go for a disruptive strategy, because if we keep doing what we were doing, we will end up with the same results. We want to see more of our referees officiating in big international matches, making India proud.
“The Strategic Roadmap is currently being worked on, and refereeing development is a big part of that. We are going to set targets for every year, month, and week. The approach, I am sure, will eventually bear fruits in the future.”
AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran said, “Refereeing development is top priority for the new management. We want to elevate the standards of refereeing in India, and we have multiple initiatives to take things forward. We are confident that the Referees Committee through the Chief Refereeing Offircer (Trevor Kettle) will together develop the policy and the framework that will define the landscape of refereeing in India.
“In a few years, we want to see our referees at the global level, and it is our vision to see Indian referees at the World Cup regularly. Also, we want to see more women’s referees in the game. The Recruitment system should be more inclusive and encouraging. I would like to invite all the State FAs to play a bigger role in referees’ opportunities at the grassroots level.”