COVID-19: Football referees body provides small loans to members

The earnings of the referees stopped in the absence of football matches in the city, the Bombay Referees Association has provided loans of Rs 5000 each to its seven members to help them tackle the crisis, triggered by COVID-19.

A referee usually earns on an average Rs 300-500 per match in an organised league tournament and in private league matches the amount is about Rs 1,500 a day.

Shirzad Bhatena, treasurer of the body, told PTI, “We have been able to extend help to seven members and have given Rs 5,000 per person.”

According to Bhatena, the amount which has been distributed is the interest amount that they receive on the benevolent fund they have.

Explaining the decision to give the money as loan, Bhatena said, “If you don’t say it as a loan, anybody and everybody will pop up. So we wanted to help the really needy people. Nine people had applied but we selected seven.”

The private body, formed in 1947, has about 100 members.

Bhatena, who is also a match commissioner with All India Football Federation, said the referees have given them in writing that they will repay the amount when the matches restart after the end lockdown period.