New Delhi: In a major boost for refereeing in India, Uvena Fernandes became the first ever woman referee from India to get selected to officiate in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup slated to kick-off in Jordan on September 30-October 21.
In the process, she became the second Indian referee after K Shankar to get a chance to officiate in any World Cup. Shankar had officiated as an assistant referee in the World Cup 2002 simultaneously held in Korea and Japan. As an assistant referee, Uvena had earlier officiated three matches in the Asian Games 2014 in Incheon, Korea Republic, including the semifinal clash between former Women’s Champions Japan and Vietnam.
“It is like a dream come true,” she said, adding, “It is a wonderful opportunity for me and I am excited to see myself officiate in FIFA World Cup,” Uvena said.
Asked whether the thought of her officiating in the tournament gives her jitters, Uvena replied loud: “Of course! I am still coming to terms with the fact that I have been appointed to officiate in the U-17 World Cup in Jordan”.
“It is not only a boost for me but for women’s football and women refereeing in general,” she said.
“I had always dreamt of taking Indian women’s refereeing to an international stage, and now I can. It’s a dream come true,” she reiterated.
Lauding Uvena’s appointment, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said, “Development of Indian referees stays on our priority list. It’s nice to see Indian referees get international recognition, that too, an appointment to officiate in a World Cup. Congratulations Uvena. I wish her all the best.”