Overworked, underprepared: ISL clubs flag referees

Stuart Baxter chose the worst possible way to draw attention to one of the most controversial aspects of the Indian League: the referee.

The people of Britain sacked Odisha as manager on Tuesday, stating that their players would have to rape or rape someone, so that a referee could decide in their favor. However, his departure did not end the controversy over the quality of work in the Indian Super League (ISL).

On Wednesday, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) disciplinary committee suspended East Bengal manager Robbie Fowler for four matches and fined Rs 5 lakh for insulting the Indian referee.

But Fowler and Baxter – who have chosen sensible words in the past to criticize the referee – are not the only managers in the ISL who have spoken out against the malfunction. Almost all clubs, either through managers, players or management, at some point expressed displeasure over some call made by the referee.

In this season, the criticism is more explicit than before and the mistakes are exposed. Incidentally, this is also the season when the ISL has appointed at least as many referees.

According to data available on the ISL website, the 15 referees appointed this season are six compared to the previous season and then three less than the 2016, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. In 2015, the ISL had 17 referees and in 2014 the number was 16 in the inaugural season.

Out of 15, seven referees have worked in 60 of the 81 matches played till Wednesday, which means more workload, less time to recover and any time to assess their performance. Their work increased after the halfway mark in January, when two officers were removed from their duties due to repeated mistakes in decision making.

“This year, perhaps due to Kovid’s position, there is more stress on the referee,” says AESF Secretary General Keshal Das. He said, ‘We have had to reduce our season in terms of fixtures, which happen on a daily basis. The referee seems to miss the time to sit back and review his decisions. Therefore there is additional pressure. “

Poor referees have been a recurring theme in India’s domestic tournament since pre-ISL days. Former AIFF head referee Gautam Kar says this is because enough attention has not been given to train match officials.

How lightly the issue was taken can be gauged from the fact that a referee’s department in the AIFF, which looked at the appointments and developmental aspects during the match, was formed just 10 years ago.

”when we formed the department in 2011, we had a desk, a chair and some files. We had a list of about 11 to 12 referees from all over India, but there was no information about them. And we came to know one more thing that they trained only once in a year or two. It was very low, ”says Kar.

The annual budget of the AIFF for referee-related activities is around 50 to 75 lakh rupees, which some stars of the national team earn by playing in a season. Academies have stopped developing referees and since the National League has the lowest numbers in the world, they lack experience.

One has to accept the fact that the number of match referees in India is lower than in many football countries. The number of referees in India is low, so referees are called from outside due to more matches.

Kar says that when he left the role in 2018, the list of Indian referees had expanded to 272. However, there are only 18 referees across India, who are eligible to act in international matches recognized by FIFA, most of them also. Isla.

There are very good and best referees in our country, sometimes they do not match the pace of the game. Therefore, they are far from action and therefore not capable of dishonesty or wrongdoing. And it is not good for them that they can do wrong things and they take very good decisions and do good work for the country.

Controversial decisions, wrong throw-ins, targeted denials and controversial dispatches have been withheld. There have also been incidents where the AIFF committee overturned the referee’s decision to show a red card to East Bengal’s Danny Fox to challenge Goa’s Alexander Jesuraj.

The ISL tried to raise the standard in the first season by bringing in foreign officials, who on some occasions received salaries of almost 10 times more than their Indian counterparts. That too, did not make much difference.

Kar believes that it is important to invest in the development of referees in the same way to improve the quality of players.

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