Bhubaneswar: The AIFF Cat 5 Referee Development Programme got underway at Kalinga Stadium on Saturday, and will continue till the end of January.
As part of its initiative to promote football in Odisha, the state’s Department of Sports and Youth Services has collaborated with All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Football Association of Odisha (FAO) to arrange the programme which will benefit referees in the state.
The first of three phases has brought together 18 men and 12 women from different districts of Odisha. AIFF instructors G. Murthi and Pijus Biswas will supervise the programme.
“This programme has been specially designed to benefit the former district and state level football players of Odisha. An important part of the process is to have good quality officials in competitive games that are played in the State. Therefore, we decided to collaborate with AIFF and FAO in order to increase the number of qualified referees we have across the State. This would be an opportunity for all undergoing the courses to develop a professional career as a referee, which is fast becoming a viable career option due to increase in professional football played in the country,” Principal Secretary, Sports and Youth Services, Vishal K Dev said.
“It’s a great effort by the Department of Sports and Youth Services, towards the development of Football in our State, especially for those players who have retired from active football. This programme will certainly help those players who want to pursue a career as a football match official and will also help them earn a livelihood,” Football Association of Odisha secretary Asirbad Behera said.