Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], October 12 (ANI): All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday announced the entry of the women referees in the men’s game of I-League Qualifiers 2021.
Busting the myths that women cannot officiate in men’s games, there will be two female officials — referee Ranjita Devi Tekcham and assistant referee Ri-iolang Dhar.
Both being former footballers in their states, Manipur and Meghalaya, respectively, they have now found a way of remaining connected to the game through refereeing.
Ranjita Devi, who was a player back in her younger days, was inspired by her brother to take up refereeing.
“My brother was an inspiration to me. He could not become a national level referee himself for different reasons, but he inspired me to become a referee,” Ranjita said to i-league.org as reported by the AIFF.
“He gave me full support to follow our dream, and I was able to become a national and then international level referee,” said the 36-year-old, who became a national referee in 2016, and joined the FIFA panel in 2018. “My brother spent a lot of time to help me. I had to work hard, but he also worked hard with me so that I could realise this dream — our dream,” she added.
For 31-year-old Ri-iolang Dhar, who has also been a player, and had represented her state at the national level, becoming a referee was a way of staying connected with football.
“When I had stopped playing, I felt very disconnected from the game. I soon realised that I could not stay away from football for too long, so when the opportunity to become a referee came along, I decided to take it up,” said Dhar, who became a national referee in 2017, before becoming a FIFA panel referee the following year. (ANI)