Football federation backs under-fire ISL referees

New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) The All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday backed under-pressure referees who are facing criticism for inconsistent performances in the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL), taking “strong objections” to comments about them.

Coaches of several ISL franchises have voiced their displeasure at decisions taken by referees, both Indian and foreign, supervising matches.

Their decisions have often been controversial, altering the outcome of the match, leaving coaches fuming.

Among the coaches, the most vocal has been FC Goa’s Zico.

The legendary Brazilian has been highly critical of the standard of refereeing so far and even commented after an away match against Atletico De Kolkata that he won’t hesitate to go back to his country if such poor standard of supervision prevailed.

The AIFF in collaboration with the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) conducted and annual three-day ISL Referee Workshop in April.

The workshop was taken with the objective of improving referring standards that would help football grow holistically. The workshop included theoretical and practical sessions and was attended by 30 AIFF match officials — 15 referees and 15 assistant referees.

The focus was on enhancing knowledge, application and interpretation of the laws of the game, consolidating teamwork and free communication among the officials.

But despite AIFF’s best efforts, criticism has sharply risen from several quarters. The governing body, however, wasn’t willing to pay heed to any complaints, justified or outrageous.

“All India Football Federation takes strong objection to the comments made by Coaches in media on the refereeing standards in the ongoing Hero Indian Super League 2016,” an AIFF statement said on Wednesday.

“The referees officiating in the Hero ISL are FIFA officials, having officiated FIFA Internationals and high intensity games in their careers. Like the players on the field, the match officials also give everything during the game and it is very unfortunate to see them coming under unwanted criticism for doing their job.”

“All India Football Federation stands by its match officials officiating in ISL and are sure the referees will continue to give their best on the field,” it added.

–IANS

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