Indian football’s domestic league or simply the I-League is scheduled to commence in September. But the entire nation will be witnessing a female referee from Goa named Maria Rebello officiating in I-League fixtures.
Rebello had joined the Bombay Referees Association where she began her training to become a professional referee. She was then affiliated with the Goa Football Association and there she refereed men’s fixtures in the local leagues, eventually climbing up the ladder to officiate in the Goa Professional League, the top football league in Goa. Rebello has also refereed matches in the SAFF Championship, the Federation Cup and the Santosh Trophy.
Maria Rebello is no stranger to football, she is a former captain of the India’s women team. Having already officiated in the I-League, in a match between Pune FC and Shillong Lajong on 8th March, 2014, she knows how the I-League works.
The AIFF has sanctioned her to officiate in the upcoming season of I-League. Rebello’s wait is over, she can start officiating in the domestic league from the forthcoming campaign.
But players must not test her patience as she is very strict with cards. Rebello understands that football is a contact sport and will let the play flow smoothly but will intervene if and when necessary. All in all, Indian football will be benefitting from having a referee who is not only passionate about the sport but also one who demands authority.