All the teams have expressed dissatisfaction at the quality of the officiating in the league this season.
The Indian Super League (ISL) this season has been quite unpredictable with only seven points separating bottom-placed Hyderabad FC and table-toppers ATK. The campaign has seen a lot of action and late drama recently. However, amidst all of this, the main highlight has been the dropping standard of refereeing.
The refereeing standards in the ISL have hit a consistent low this season. According to a report from News 18, Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) who run the Indian Super League have met the All India Football Federation (AIFF) during the FIFA international break and one of the major points of discussion was how to improve the level of refereeing in the league. FSDL reportedly want the AIFF to find a short-term plan and also want to look for a long-term solution for developing good referees in the country.
The officials have requested the federation to urgently look into the matter to find a short-term solution and also work on a long-term outlook to the referee development program,” the source said.
It is a major concern from the ISL committee, considering the flaws in match-turning decisions and its immediate effect on the clubs, coaches, players and fans.
Both coaches and players have criticized the refereeing standards this season. It is believed that the deal between Manchester City and Mumbai City, the Premier League champions, might pave the way to bring European standard referees to India.
The ISL initially attracted foreign referees with a balance of 40% and the remaining 60% were Indians. However, that changed ever since the fourth season, when the league started promoting Indian referees in a bid to give them more exposure.
The game between Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United was an example of this. There were several questionable calls from the referee, which influenced the result of the match. Jamshedpur FC head coach, Antonio Iriondo did not hold back in expressing his views about the low refereeing standards in the league.
“The referee missed a clear penalty. This league could be a great league, but with this level of refereeing, it is pretty much impossible. There is no way a referee can miss a penalty like that.”
“Every match this season, you have seen bad refereeing, these amazing decisions. There a lot of good things about the league. But, they are not focusing on the important thing that is refereeing. You cannot have this kind of a situation every week,” Jamshedpur FC coach Antonio Iriondo said.
ATK attacker David Williams too had an opinion on the issue, as he discussed the poor refereeing decisions during his side’s draw against Mumbai City last week.