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Referees day ; Media All Stars Vs Bombay Referees Assn

Posted on : Monday December 14, 2009

Indian tennis icon Leander Paes’ and hockey Olympian D. Somaiya were part of the Media All Stars XI that took to the hallowed turf of the Cooperage Football Ground in Mumbai for an exhibition match against the Bombay Referees Association to commemorate the AFC Asian Referees’ Year 2009.
In what proved to be an enthralling contest, the Referees came back from a 3-1 deficit to draw level before finally prevailing in a tense penalty shoot-out.
The game was officiated by Mr.S Shetty, ex-FIFA Referee and President of the Bombay Referees Association.
“This is a historic event” said Walter Pereira, joint secretary of the Bombay Referees Association who also functions as an AIFF Match Commissioner for All-India events. “It is such an honor to play alongside Leander and Somaiya – two of India’s finest sportsmen. Refereeing is such a thankless job and this comes as such a breath of fresh air – the first of its kind in the history of the association.”
Leading the surge for the All-Stars was striker Leander Paes, who scored a sublime hat-trick. “Football has always been in my blood and not many people know that I was selected by PSV Eindhoven at the u-15 level” revealed the tennis star.
“We owe it to the WIFA – and secretary Wali Mohammad – for their constant support. We have gone from having just one changing room with a leaking roof in the 80’s to a full-fledged office in their premises today.” said joint secretary Mr. Antonio F Pinto. Fittingly, Mr. Mohammad was the chief guest for the event.
Following the game, the action shifted indoors to some light refreshments and an interactive session on refereeing decisions and a detailed explanation of the Offside Law.
Established in 1947 and affiliated to the Western India Football Association (WIFA), the B.R.A is one of the oldest associations of its kind in the country and has produced a host of FIFA Panel and All-India referees over the decades.
The event, an initiative of FootballMumbai.com, was held to commemorate the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Referees’ Year 2009.
Though September 1st was officially declared as the Referees’ Day, the sheer volume of competitive fixtures at the Cooperage delayed the event. “Today was a fantastic day” added Pereira, who also scored a spectacular brace in the game. “This just goes to show that it is never too late.”