Joya puts humanity over refereeing

Wahid Ullah Bakul | Published: 22:22, May 10,2020


Joya Chakma

Bangladesh’s first FIFA recognised female international referee Joya Chakma on Sunday claimed that she was not disappointed about missing her chance to officiate international matches this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the current global crisis trumped her personal grievances.

In December last year, Jaya earned her FIFA referee license which made her eligible to officiate international matches under Asian Football Confederation for a year, starting from January, 2020.

But due to the virus outbreak, all international football has been put on hold and with the return to normalcy looking far out of sight, Joya’s chance of becoming the first Bangladeshi female referee to officiate an international fixture is getting longer.

Joya was also supposed to sit on a FIFA elite referee test in March earlier this year, to become eligible to officiate matches directly under FIFA, but the test never took place due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

The former footballer, however, took these setbacks on her stride and didn’t want to dwell too much on her individual interest when the entire world was going through a crisis.

‘Our match allotments depend on the tournament availability. As there are no tournaments now, there is no question of allotment,’ Joya told New Age. 

‘But I am not disappointed nor do I have any grief as danger never notifies before coming. I don’t have the mentality of thinking about my own interest when the country and the whole world is suffering from coronavirus pandemic. Humanity is above individual interest,’ she added.

Joya could still get the chance to referee in an international match if the FIFA considered extending her license or if the AFC allots some international fixtures within December, 2020.

But Joya wasn’t too hopeful and was rather preparing to renew her FIFA referee license through an exam on September-October this year.

‘I don’t think FIFA will extend referees licenses. And for me, appearing in FIFA’s test is nothing new. I had two unsuccessful attempts before in 2016 and 2017,’ she said.

‘It seems that there is no real opportunity as all events have been postponed. But right now, I do not want to look at my personal gain or loss,’ she said.

The 28-year old lady from Rangamati, had earned her FIFA referee license last year by appearing in the exam in August.

Joya played in the national women’s team from 2008 to 2012 before starting her refereeing career with the first assignment being at the 2013 AFC Under-14 women’s football tournament in Sri Lanka.

Jaya has officiated in over 30 international age-level matches, including at the Berlin football festival in 2015, where age-levels teams of Argentina, Brazil and some other Latin American nations took part.

She is currently working as a coach at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan.

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