Covid-19 has hit football referees hard

Thinley Namgay

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the closure of many sporting events. Many referees have thus become jobless like professional players and athletes.

Of the 15 sports federations in the country, four sports associations, and 15 dzongkhag sports associations under the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), football referees in particular are affected the most by disruptions.

One of the chief sources of income for the referees is from the football matches. Major tournaments such as Bhutan Super League, Bhutan Premier league, and Women’s League have all been closed for now.

Phurpa Wangchuk, a freelance referee, said that the referees don’t have work at present. “I depend entirely on tournaments and local matches. The referee make Nu 500 from every local match and Nu 750 from club tournaments.”

The referees are paid Nu 1,000 for BFF-organised tournaments, which works out to about Nu 40,000 a month.

Phurpa Wangchuk said that of the 58 freelance referees in the country, 23 were in Thimphu.

“Because we are left with no other source of income, all 23 of us have applied for the kidu,” said Phurpa Wangchuk.

Currently, there are 27 coaches and 58 freelance referees registered with the BFF.

BFF’s competition officer, Kinley Dorji, said that all the coaches under the BFF were paid salary as usual.

Of the 13 registered football clubs under the BFF, most are continuing with the salary for the coaches.

BOC’s programme officer, Jamyang Namgyal, said that including the sports federations, associations and dzongkhag sports associations, there were about 200 coaches under the BOC. “All the coaches are getting normal pay.”

In most of the federations and associations, coaches work as a referee, said Jamyang Namgyal.

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