I attended an Introductory Referee Course for youths of Morang District over Christmas weekend. It was exciting to observe the enthusiasm of the young participants and wonderful to see that youths as young as 16 were being given an opportunity by Biratnagar Sports Club (formerly known as Morang Football Project) to learn about refereeing.
I was equally surprised to learn how little knowledge they had of basic football rules before they started the course. One of the older participants had been refereeing for over 5 years at district level and did not even know the offsides rule properly, for example. Unfortunately, most Nepali sports associations solely focus on participating in international tournaments and pay little if any attention to development. Courses - be it refereeing, coaching or administration are as rare as the one horned rhino. It's no wonder why virtually every football match in Nepal spirals out of control. Fans, players, coaches, administrators and sometimes even the referees just don't know the rules. Hopefully more courses like this will help them get up to speed.