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ISL 2020-21: AIFF pulls out two referees in first crackdown

ISL 2020-21: AIFF pulls out two referees in first crackdown

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 9 Jan 2021 6:31 AM GMT

Two referees out of the 13 that have officiated in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 season till now have been pulled out of the tournament by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) due to their poor performance. One of them officiated in more than two games while the other, after a poor start, had been shifted to fourth official duties. Both haven’t featured in any of the matches since the turn of the year.

The decision from AIFF comes after head coaches of as many as three teams expressed their frustration with the standard of refereeing this season. Juan Ferrando (FC Goa), Owen Coyle (Jamshedpur FC) and Robbie Fowler (SC East Bengal) have all been quite vocal about their opinion about the referees. SC East Bengal had also recently submitted a written complaint to AIFF and Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the second time they have done that this season.

Referees who make mistakes are usually kept out for some games, given pep talks and a few sessions before they are brought back. In this case, even that didn’t work as both kept having errors in judgement. Handling of players and judgement calls on free-kick situations have been a problem for both throughout. With the I-League starting from Saturday under a bio-secure bubble in Kolkata, procuring additional referees for ISL may now be an issue.

Out of the 13 referees so far, Coimbatore Srikrishna has conducted seven games, followed by Tejas Nagvenkar and Rahul Gupta with six games each. Last month, ISL had also organised an open forum for team head coaches and referees facilitating exchange of ideas and discussions on scope for improvement. AIFF Referees Director Ravishankar Jayaraman had mentioned there that the advancement of refereeing in India is a long-term investment and it will take a little time to see positive results.

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