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New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has appointed specialised coaches for country's top referees in order to help them advance on a continuous basis.
Director of Referees Ravishankar J, a former FIFA Panel referee himself, has termed the program as "one of the greatest steps" taken.
"This is one of the greatest steps that we have taken. We thought that since every team has a coach and referees being a team themselves, we thought we should have a coach who would monitor them," said Ravishankar during a chat with AIFF TV.
"Usually, the Referee Assessor (RA) for a game just monitors the performance of the referee or assistant referee in that game. But now, the coach will evaluate only a particular referee's performance from the batch under him," he added.
Ravishankar further said that the program will allow comparing a referee's performance with the earlier game, to see whether his fitness and conditioning have improved, whether he has taken the points that he has been referred or whether he has noted what he has been advised.
"The thing is that he is monitored through the season by one single individual. It allows to work with the referee at a personal level."
He affirmed the intention to invest into this new concept and shared how during ISL games, coaches from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) Group helped referees, which helped formulate the idea of appointing coaches for referees.
"In the ISL matches, there have been PGMOL coaches coming in from London. They come to do a number of matches, submit reports to the referees' department, which is shared with the referees. It's a worthwhile concept because they would give video clips and show supporting documents along with advice. There was never criticism and they would always show areas of improvement," said Ravishankar.
"The best thing was that the previous reports were shared with the next coach who came to evaluate the referees and as he compares them with the earlier reports, we come to know who is on the upward trend. So that put the idea in our minds," he added.