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Harish Kundu, Ujjal Halder get selected in AFC Elite Referees panel

Published at :April 2, 2024 at 10:34 PM
Modified at :April 2, 2024 at 10:34 PM
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Samannay Sen

Harish Kundu has officiated in many big games in Indian football.

Indian football refereeing received a shot in the arm with the news that Harish Kundu and Ujjal Halder have been selected for the prestigious AFC Elite Referee panel. This achievement marks a significant step forward for the duo, allowing them to officiate at the highest level of Asian football competitions.

Harish Kundu stands out as one of the most disciplined referees within the Indian domestic football arena, boasting a notable portfolio of officiating various prestigious tournaments including the I-League 2nd Division, I-League, ISL, Durand Cup, and Intercontinental Cup, among others.

In a significant development in January 2023, Kundu, alongside Rahul Gupta, emerged as two distinguished referees among the inaugural group of eight officials to be granted full-time contracts through the Elite Refereeing Development Programme (ERDP) within Indian football.

Ujjal Halder, aged just 24, has achieved a remarkable feat as possibly the sole representative from Bengal in recent memory to secure a position among the specialist assistant referees (linesmen) recognized by the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) referee’s committee.

Recognition for Excellence

The AFC Elite Referee badge is a coveted distinction for match officials in Asia. It signifies that Harish Kundu and Ujjal Halder have demonstrably met the AFC’s stringent criteria in areas like on-field decision-making, physical fitness, and technical knowledge.

Their selection is a testament to their dedication, talent, and consistent performances over an extended period.

Boost for Indian Refereeing

Kundu and Halder’s elevation to the AFC Elite Panel is not just a personal triumph but also a positive development for Indian refereeing as a whole. Their presence in the panel increases India’s pool of elite referees in Asia and opens doors for them to officiate in high-profile AFC tournaments like the AFC Asian Cup, the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup.

This exposure to top-tier competitions will further refine their skills and provide valuable experience that can benefit them.

India already boasts a healthy contingent of 16 match officials in the AFC Elite Panel, with Kundu and Halder joining the ranks of seven referees and nine assistant referees. This strong foundation bodes well for the future of Indian refereeing.

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