Rupa Devi is India’s first International Woman Referee for FIFA. A platform which has been a dream for the country, Rupa Devi, being a female has somehow gave India, a platform to do so. But, how has the journey been for Rupa? In this blog, we’re going to talk about India’s pride, Rupa Devi on how she went on to become the first Indian woman to be the referee in FIFA.
Who is Rupa Devi
Rupa Devi is a 26 year old woman belonging to Dindigul, Tamil Nadu. Dindigul is a small city in Tamil Nadu which is popular for its temples in Palani, varieties of fruits, Kodaikanal Garden and more.
Rupa Devi hails from Dindigul where football is a popular game. Despite cricket having its roots in almost all parts of the country, Rupa Devi was inclined towards football. She used to wait on the sides of the football field so that she could get a chance to kick the ball.
According to a report by The News Minute, Rupa Devi lost her parents in 2010 and 2011. This was one of the most difficult times in the life of Rupa. And during these two years, there were no matches for women at the national level. This was when a senior referee recommended her to join the referee development school in 2012.
After that, she has been a referee at many matches. In 2013, she was chosen as the referee for Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for under-14 Football festival held in Doha. At that point of time, Rupa Devi was the only Indian who was selected as part of the Asian Football Confederation body’s ‘Future Referees’ project at that time.
Three years later, after qualifying the examination by FIFA, she got qualified as an international referee.
Rupa Devi Early Life
Rupa Devi used to be a teacher way before entering the field of Football. As in profession, Rupa Devi was a teacher. But, she started playing football when she was as young as 6 years. Rupa had also been a member of her college, Madurai Kamarajar University football team. Later on, she took the sports to the next level where she played for the Dindigul District Football Association (DDFA).
She has not only been associated with Football in her life, but also was a good student. Rupa Devi studied Chemistry in her college and this was also the thing that helped her qualify the FIFA examination.
Although it is a sign of good luck for India that a woman has entered into the FIFA qualified women referees. But, on the other side, it is quite worrisome that Rupa Devi could not find opportunities to play. Rather she had to go for refereeing despite being such a talented woman.
Rupa Devi Career
Rupa has been a phenomenal student. She has a degree in science background and she also has been a Physical Education teacher after getting her degree in the same. Due to her coming from a studious background, Rupa Devi was able to clear the FIFA examination.
As a teacher, Rupa had to take offs sometimes to travel to match destinations so she could referee over there. But her employers didn’t like it. So, she had to quit her job and that’s when Rupa finally decided that she will take up Football seriously and this time, more professionally.
Rupa belonged to an underprivileged background where the Dindigul Football Association honorary secretary S Shanmugam asked the Association to sponsor her education aand training. This is when she cleared her Stage IV examination and got eligible to referee in Tamil Nadu state.
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