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Maria breaks the glass ceiling

New Delhi: Maria Rebello of Goa became India’s first woman referee to be selected to supervise I-League matches beginning in September.

Confirming the news, All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) head of referees’ department Gautam Kar said: “Maria has been selected to officiate matches in the coming I-League. Her name has been approved by the selection panel of our referees’ committee.”

A former player, who represented Goa in the Nationals, Maria, 42, broke into the Fifa and AFC elite panel a few years back. Her first break in country’s top flight men’s football came in the 2010 Santosh Trophy in Calcutta when she supervised the match between Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. For the last couple of seasons, the girl from Goa’s Curtorim received regular postings in the second division I-League, where her performance was found satisfactory.

She also had been doing regular matches in the Goa Professional League.

“I am honoured,” said Maria from Goa. “I love football and the challenge of refereeing on the pitch. I will give my hundred per cent,” she added.

“Since I have regularly supervised matches in the Goa Professional League and second division I-League, I am confident of doing well in the I-League also,” she said.