If you’ve ever wondered how match officials get there in the first place, we bring you a step-by-step guide to the process in the domestic game.

In India, as the game of football is getting popularized, a lack of good referees and even proper numbers of referees has been recorded. While the game is progressing, the implementers of its laws have seen a downfall.

It is the whole of the football fraternity, from fans to the organizations that run the game in this vast country. Not once have most of the fans even thought of being a referee or a part of the game in order to enhance its quality, but many of them have gathered to blatantly malign the names of the men and women who run the show.

Refereeing in India is no more just for the football passionate super-fan with time to kill, but is slowly turning into a profession. The AIFF too is taking a stand and making funds available to see that the match officials are paid well.

So, here is a look at how one can become a referee in Indian football:

Who is Eligible?

Anyone over the age of 18 and under the age of 45 is eligible to apply as a referee internationally. However, there is a catch. You have to pass your National Level Exams before the age of 35 as that is the cut-off.

You also need to have cleared your Matriculation exams with at least a pass percentage and need to be a citizen of India.

How do I apply?

The application process is very simple and requires very less paperwork since the introduction of the RASI portal on the AIFF website.

You need to find the dates for registration and examination announced by your local district football association as they will be authorized by the state’s Head of Referees to conduct examinations once or twice a year.

You will be required to submit your Matriculation Certificate along with a document to show your identity (eg. Aadhar Card). You will also be required to fill this online form on the AIFF Website.

Is there an examination?

Yes, the referees’ job is very demanding, both physically and mentally and thus an examination is devised in a certain way to test both.

Firstly there will be a fitness test that takes place in two parts.

  1. Six 60m sprints under 6.5 seconds each for beginners
  2. A 4km Cooper Test with the following breakdown:

        (75m run + 15 m walk)*40times


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Secondly, there will be the intellectual test.

  1. A written test to assess your knowledge of the Laws of the Game.
  2. A Viva to assess your speed to access the laws mentally.

(The Passing criteria for beginners is set by the Head of Referees for your particular State)

Finally, you will have to pass a practical exam.

  1. Depending on your district association, you will be asked to officiate as a referee, assistant referee and fourth official at junior category matches where you will be evaluated to see whether you are fit to be a referee.

If you pass these then you shall be qualified as a Football Referee Category 5.

What’s Next?

You will be required to put in 40 matches at various positions (referee, assistant, fourth official), throughout the year and update your RASI account on the AIFF website.

At the end of one year, you will see an option to apply for promotion in the RASI portal which you will click and request a date of Promotion Examination with the Head of Referees of your state.

On passing the said examination, you will be promoted further till Category 3 and then you have to apply for the National level Exam which is for Category 2.

A select few will be promoted to Category 1 and then recommended to FIFA in order to be tested as a FIFA Referee and get a chance to officiate internationally.

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