Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Thursday, Jun 30, 2011
Google



Metro Plus Chennai
Published on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | NXg | Friday Review | Cinema Plus | Young World | Property Plus | Quest |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

All for a level playing field

It's not enough to be a good referee, it's also important to match up to international standards. K. Sankar, ex-FIFA referee and now chairman of the I-League Committee talks about his experiences



NOT POLITENESS, BUT PERFORMANCE That's former FIFA referee K. Sankar's mantra for success

F or some people, the passion for sport can be a great motivator. Ask K. Sankar, former FIFA referee and the only Indian so far to have done duty at a World Cup (FIFA World Cup 2002), and currently AIFF's chairman of the Referees I-League Committee, in addition to being the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC's) Referees Assessor, and he will agree. He starts the day at his football academy and ends it with jottings on various refereeing issues. In between, he does justice to his work at Indian Bank (where he is employed) and devotes time to his wife and two daughters.

Often travelling within the country and abroad, basically around Asia (virtually 15 days a month), Sankar says he has been able to pursue his passion for football only because of the support of the bank and his colleagues who shoulder the additional burden in his absence. He hastens to add, “My wife ensures everything goes smoothly on the home front.”

Demanding task

These days Sankar's task is just as demanding as it was during his days as a referee. “If the focus then was on keeping fit and mentally sharp to ensure I maintained the standard for high-level performance, today I have to guide aspiring referees on the right lines,” he says, in his capacity as AFC's Referees Assessor.

Sankar believes refereeing has changed a lot these days; it has become demanding. “Not politeness but performance,” that's the mantra for a successful referee. For this, referees have to be not just fit but fitter than any professional player. Fitness tests are tougher, involving not just sprinting ability but ‘150 metres of high-intensity running at a time'. Unless a referee takes such rigours in his stride and is sharp in interpreting the laws of the game, it is difficult to get noticed at the highest level. That is why, Sankar says, both the FIFA and AFC now lay emphasis on professionalism among referees.

Today the world body insists training for referees should begin at a young age, say at 25. “By 35, FIFA believes a referee should be able to take on the high pressure matches of a World Cup,” he says. In many countries, Sankar says, referee-spotting begins at school level. “I stress this aspect at my academy.” He talks of the Uzbek Ravshan Irmatov (AFC Referee of the year for three years now), one of the World's best referees who is just 34. He was picked at school level and was a FIFA referee by age 26 and today is considered the Ambassador of Uzbekistan — such is his popularity.

Introducing innovations

Sankar feels India too can have such examples. “We have talent but we need an organised programme,” he says. Being in charge of the I-League Referees now, he has introduced innovations such as the trio system — all the three on-field referees from same state or neighbouring state, giving exposure to U-25 referees and stressing more on ‘fitness' than ‘past reputation' in a referee. “The I-League this time was by far trouble-free at least from the refereeing point of view and, at the same time, the doors were opened for every referee to perform and get noticed,” he says. He believes match assessment can improve even more in the I-League if there is a match-recording system in place so that post-match analysis by referees will be clear.

“With the glamour attached to referees and the thrill of knowing you are among the best, interest in this demanding post is growing now. Doctors, engineers and corporate employees seek enrolment as referees. That is a good sign,” he feels.

S.R. SURYANARAYAN

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail



Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | NXg | Friday Review | Cinema Plus | Young World | Property Plus | Quest |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | Sportstar | Frontline | Publications | eBooks | Images | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2011, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu