This season of Indian Super League promised a lot of good and quality football. The league added two more teams, making it a 10-team competition. It also increased the number of Indians in the starting lineup from 5 to 6. With increased in duration it looked perfect for Indian football.
Now it has been almost 2 months since the start of the and with the involvement of fans, management and organisers, the tournament looks to have set its standards. The only thing which has degraded the quality then it is the poor-poor decisions taken by the referees. They have really let down the standards of ISL.
In the past seasons, Brazilian legend and former FC Goa manager had also openly criticized the poor refereeing standards of ISL. He had even urged the organisers to bring reputed Fifa referees on board, just like the league was bringing in foreign players, which would help the standard of Indian referees.”It’s better that you get Fifa referees. Like you get good players to play, you can also get good referees so that Indian referees can learn from them. If they are from Fifa, then there is something wrong in Fifa.” Zico said.
Even in the season 4, the standard of referring in the ISL by the Indian officials has drawn a lot of criticism from the foreign coaches. Raising concerns over the overall quality of the league, they stated that many poor decisions have seen the course of the match change. This year’s league has seen many contentious and dubious decision from the match officials and it is the local organizers who have to face all the heat of the fans.
It may be a silly incident leading to a wrong booking or it may be a wrongful penalty given or a penalty denied.Referees had to face the heat when BFC goalkeeper Gurpreet was sent off. TP Rehneesh was another goalkeeper who had to be red carded for a minor offence. Kerala Blasters fans went furious after Chennaiyin FC were awarded a penalty after the ball hit Sandesh Jhingan’s armpit.In the match against ATK and FC Goa, after Brandon Fernandes being fouled in the box, the referee awarded a freekick. There are many such incidents to show the poor referring in ISL.The last few matches have also seen many penalties being denied changing the course of the match altogether.
ISL organizers said that they aren’t the one who appoint referees. That mandate lies with the All India Football Federation.However, the AIFF has taken strong exceptions of the comments made by the foreign coaches, making it clear that there will be no increased number of foreign officials in the league.
It is need of the hour to rectify or at least minimise the referee errors. We don’t want poor decisions to show their effects on the league.