BH CORRESPONDENT, New Delhi: All India Football Federation (AIFF) has started online tutorial classes for the referees across India to keep them on their toes amid COVID-19 lockdown.
60 referees of category 3 and category 4 have been divided into two batches of 30 participants each and are undergoing online classes for over two hours thrice a day. While Suresh Srinivasan and Bhaskar are coaching Batch A, Antony D’Costa and Rizwan ul Haq are the instructors for Batch B. All of the above are ex-FIFA Referees. In addition, 50 observers and instructors are also part of the tutorial classes as invitees.
“All the outdoor activities have been shut for coronavirus pandemic. So, we had to come up with some plan for the referees. The courses are part of the ongoing process to improve them, and there cannot be any stop to further development,” said Ravishankar, AIFF director of referees.
“Given the current circumstances, we challenged ourselves and felt going digital was the best, and the sole viable option. We felt it was the best way to engage time, make use of the lockdown, and sustain our efforts for holistic development,” said Ravishankar, who is himself a former FIFA referee. He further added, “Initially, we had one orientation session for the referees to brief the curriculum and the protocol. The classes are being conducted in English primarily with an option to answer and clarify in Hindi too.”
Meanwhile, referees from Category 1/2 including the FIFA panel ones have been asked to attend a trivia session on alternative days to enhance their knowledge on recent amendments in the laws of the game.
“200-odd category 1/2 referees have been instructed to take part in the trivia sessions on every alternative day. While the session will help them get updated about the recent amendments by FIFA, the MCQ test will maintain a healthy competition among them,” Ravishankar said.
Besides the online course, AIFF has also shared an indoor training regime with the referees which will, in the process, help them maintain their fitness during the unforeseen period.
“It is utmost necessary to stay active and cover the basics during these difficult days. Indoor fitness regime has also been shared with the referees so they stay in shape once the season kicks off again,” he said
A few state associations have also followed in AIFF’s footsteps to start such online courses for the state-based referees. Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra have already begun the process, while a few others will follow suit shortly.