Tamil Nadu’s T. Pradeep Kumar and Kerala’s Shaji Kurien have been chosen as the ‘Referee of the Year’ and ‘Assistant Referee of the Year’ for the year 2008-09 by the All India Football Federation. Both are on the FIFA panel.
The announcement comes in the wake of the Asian Football Confederation’s decision to mark September 1 as the ‘Asian Referees Day’. In connection with this national bodies in the continent have been directed to pick the best officials of the year and the AIFF in turn had directed all its state units to choose the best from each state.
The two will be honoured at the prize distribution function of the ONGC Nehru football tournament in New Delhi on Monday.
An employee of the Chennai Central Excise department, Pradeep was a player for his office club before taking to refereeing. He has been on the FIFA panel for nearly six years now.
While Pradeep has been recognised on the occasion of the Asian Referees Day, K. Sankar, the only Indian official (Assistant Referee) to do duty in World cup till date, was earlier honoured with the ‘Asian Referee of the Year’ award in 1999.
Pradeep has also been recognised by the Tamil Nadu Football Association as the ‘best Assistant Referee’ for the year 2008-09. The ‘best referee’ honour in the state has gone to S. Suresh, who is also on the FIFA panel.