My heartiest congratulations to referee Maria Rebello from Curtorim in Goa! Maria on Sunday became the first female referee to officiate at the highest level of AIFF organised men's football competition. She officiated the Delhi vs. Madhya Pradesh group stage match of the 64th Santosh Trophy (National State Championship of India) currently being held in Kolkata.
From what I have been told there wasn't much to say about the refereeing. And no news on the refereeing is always good news. But there was added pressure on Maria as an AFC Refereeing Inspector was at the Howrah Maidan to observe her in match action. If the post match report is positive and she gets through the written/oral tests then Maria could be soon joining the AFC's Women Elite Refereeing panel. A great honour if she achieves this and then maybe she could get a chance to be a match official at next years 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.
It is already a great achievement for Maria, a former India international footballer, to officiate at the highest level in men's football, when women in football isn't promoted the way it should for the development of women's football in India. But this example once more shows that hard work and dedication even under difficult circumstances pay off.
And in further good news for women referee's Maria's senior Bentla D'Couth from Kerala has become the first Indian woman referee to be selected for the FIFA Futro III Referee's Instructor Course, which will be held in Kathmandu from August 1 to 6.
India needs good quality referee's and it doesn't really matter if they are male or female as long as they are good in their job. It is an area which needs to develop in India as many other different aspects to make the game more professional.