regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

AIFF president calls for accountability on part of refereeing in India's top football leagues

Expressing concerns over issues related to refereeing, Chaubey urged individuals involved in referee regulations, match officials and assessors to uphold "natural justice"

PTI New Delhi Published 01.01.24, 07:21 PM
AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey

AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey File photo

In an unprecedented move, All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Kalyan Chaubey on Monday came down heavily on the referee department for the mounting refereeing errors this ISL and I-League season, saying there is an "urgent need for accountability".

Chaubey chaired a virtual meeting on Sunday to discuss ways to improve the standard of refereeing.


Expressing concerns over issues related to refereeing, Chaubey urged individuals involved in referee regulations, match officials and assessors to uphold "natural justice".

A total of 24 controversial Key Match Incidents (KMI) from seven ISL and four I-League games were presented for discussion.

After hearing explanations and analysis from the panel on the decisions of the referees, Chaubey said, "The season has seen increasing concerns over referee decisions with complaints and counter-claims. Clubs have submitted hard evidence in the form of videos to back their claims.

"Several games have been impacted due to unfortunate 'plain-sight errors', and admittedly below the acceptability of standards expected from us." It's not often that the AIFF makes a scathing assessment The AIFF chief emphasised that the federation has made strides in the highly competitive environment, leading to having a 12-month packed football calendar as compared to 7-9 months in the recent past.

"We are fortunate to serve the sport followed by millions of fans today. We are not into 7-8 months of business anymore. We are engaged throughout the year, 365 days of the calendar, in running tournaments and developing the sport at various levels and geographies in the country.

"Our paramount responsibility is to serve the sport, and the fact that we all have assembled today on the eve of the New Year to spend four hours reviewing the issue at hand, reaffirms our belief and commitment," he said.

Chaubey said that with the competitive growth of the sport, AIFF has made efforts in the development of referees over the last year.

AIFF has invested in the referees' development through the set-up of the Elite Development Referee Programme since January last year.

The Elite Referee Panel has been absorbed into the full-time payrolls of AIFF. In addition, theoretical and practical training and refreshment courses are being conducted in partnership with FIFA, PGMOL and FSDL.

"As officials and administrators, we have to work towards minimising these mistakes," emphasised Chaubey, adding, "We can't hide behind the mask of the 'acceptable 15 per cent human error norm'.

"Most of these complaints are of plain sight errors falling under the 15 per cent norm, which hampers the clubs, players and leagues." "I urge you all to look at these incidents from the emotional investment of the fans and the financial investment of the clubs. Safeguarding these emotions is the key here, and it will provide our assurance of fairness and consistency in the decisions." Recently, AIFF has appointed five Zonal Referee Development Officers with teaching knowledge, which will have a "far deeper impact on imparting referee courses" across the country.

"Through the reviews of the videos today (Sunday), we have a clear case of one club being at the receiving end for refereeing decisions that went against them twice in two games of the 10 played so far.

"In their argument, that's 20 per cent of wrong decisions on them, ruining their prospects in the season campaign.

"While we are for the independence of referee functioning and development, we also have to follow the international examples of rewards and consequences." Chaubey also called on fans and club officials to develop a fair understanding of the laws of the game and to avoid undue criticism.

The AIFF president has suggested a follow-up meeting during the Kalinga Super Cup in Bhubaneswar to discuss the way forward on these issues.

AIFF will also call ISL and I-League club coaches and managers for a meeting in Bhubaneswar to emphasise the 'do's and don'ts' for the club officials.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

Follow us on: