In the game of football apart from any other players, the role of referees is of paramount importance. A referee is one who supervises having full authority to enforce the laws of the game. It is by their whistle where decisions are enforced regarding facts connected with play and is considered final. Referees are licensed and trained by authorised bodies under the aegis of FIFA. Under the FIFA norms, there are two categories of referee namely FIFA referee and FIFA assistant referee.
Manipur, one of the footballs loving State also has a rich history when it comes to the profession of referee. So far, it has produced many eminent referees both at national and international level.
In such, Moirangthem Magho, a resident of Kakching is one who has been in the profession for the last many years serving with full zeal and dedication. At present, he is the lone FIFA assistant referee from the entire north eastern states of India. Magho was selected and given the honourable designation as per guidelines under FIFA. Prior to him, two referees including a woman from the State have already served into the profession. They are Elangbam Ibohal and Keilani.
As expressed by him, regarding the conduct of referees, rigorous fitness test are being held annually where one has to go through 3-4 tests successfully every year which are held under the vigil eye of FIFA. He said another chance is given to those who could not passed the fitness test while informing that physical fitness is the top priority for a referee.
On being queried about the rules and guidelines of the game particularly in the state of Manipur, he stated that everything should work out according to the constituted rules of the game.
“For us we have to follow the guidelines under All Manipur Football (AMFA) which is a constituent body of All India Football Federation (AIFF) which again falls under the purview of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the apex body FIFA”, he explained.
Throwing more lights on the subject, Magho further confided that in order to set-up football academy and other development programs related with the game, experience and following enacted protocols of the game are much needed to run the said project successfully.
According to him, as far as ethics and laws of the game is concerned only referees can understand precisely and put forward the game in right spirit as the various laws gets amended and improvised from time to time adding that “M.A. Elite Referee Course” are being held every year under the aegis of various constituent bodies of the game to enhance the assigned tasks of the referees.
So far, in his stint, he has performed as a match referee in Nehru Cup, biggest football tournament of the country for two times and I- League since 2007. In abroad, he had taken part in tournaments held at Bangkok, Maldives, Nepal and at AFC Cup recently held in Jordan. In the coming month of February, he is going to take part in AFC Challenge Cup qualifying round which will be held at Laos.
Stating about referees of World Cup, he said three out of eight referees from India have been selected for selection trial and added that World Cup’s referees work under the “trio system” where referees from different countries are selected to facilitate the communication and co-ordination among players and referees. For the selection, a referee aspirant has to run 100 metres six times and 150 metres twenty times within a given specific time. Also, one has to run 50 metres in six second and 150 metres twenty times in 28 seconds with an interval of 30 seconds for each track. Maximum service period for a referee is 45 years and following this one can become an instructor or a game commissioner according to an individual merits. Currently, he is a member of advisor board of Women Football Academy, Kakching.