Regular-article-logo Monday, 29 May 2023

She’s boss with whistle

Rani has become the first woman to officiate as the main referee in a Jamshedpur Sporting Association (JSA) football tie

Jayesh Thaker Jamshedpur Published 02.07.19, 06:45 PM
Rani Ravidas

Rani Ravidas A Telegraph picture

Holding a whistle in the centre of football action had been a dream for Rani Ravidas, 22, ever since she was a child.

Now, Rani has become the first woman to officiate as the main referee in a Jamshedpur Sporting Association (JSA) football tie.


Rani, along with Ghaniram Hansda (assistant referee, better known as fourth referee), Ramchandar Majhi and Rakesh Kisku (linesmen), officiated in the JSA A division tie between Park India Star and JFCC at Armoury grounds in Bistupur, Jamshedpur, on Saturday. Across the 90-minute match, she ran and walked continuously, impressing JSA functionaries. “A referee must be both fit and fair,” she said.

A BA student of The Graduate School and College for Women in Sakchi, Rani’s also a footballer who’s played for Jharkhand and Kolhan University teams.

The girl who comes from a humble background and stays in suburban Nutandih village near the Telco township, knows she is a beginner but wants to become a “top-class referee”. “Match khila kar bohot accha laga (Loved officiating the match),” she said.

To reach the JSA league match venues, Rani has to cycle 5km to reach Kharangajhar market in Telco before boarding a bus to reach the match venue. “I park my cycle at a friend’s house. It’s tiring but I don’t have an option. I cannot afford luxury of a two-wheeler,” she conceded.

Her father Gobindo Ravidas makes dholaks while sibling Subodh and Shankar drive auto-rickshaws. “Ours is a very simple family, but since childhood I have loved football and I want to make a career as a football referee,” she said.

Will she manage? “Yes, I do everything I can to stay fit. I run, do light exercises at a ground near home,” she said. “I’m looking at another match of the JSA league in the coming days.”

The JSA pays Rs 250 (per match) to its main referee and Rs 150 (to assistant referees and linesmen).

JSA secretary Avinash Kumar said Rani was hardworking and sincere. “We are backing her and want to give her more matches to officiate. She did a good job on Saturday,” he added.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) referee assessor Navin Jaideep Sundi said Jamshedpur had three women referees. “These referees attend the weekly session on theory and practicals held by us. Rani is a Grade 5 (read beginner) referee and is sincere and soft-spoken,” Jamshedpur-based Sundi added.

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