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AIFF’s Best Assistant Referee Biplab Poddar awarded with a Government job

Indian national team v FC Bayern München

Indian national team v FC Bayern München

Biplab Poddar had many problems in life, but his dreams were never aware of that.

From a fish-seller to the FIFA Badge, and then the AIFF Best Assistant Referee of the Year, the journey has been far from a bed of roses. But for a man who dedicated his life to Fair Play, it was time he got a share of the pie as well.

“I fed my dreams. Now they will look after me,” Poddar told AIFF Media.

Days after being adjudged the Best Assistant Referee of the Year by the AIFF, Poddar was given a job in the Sports Council of the West Bengal Government.

“My hard work has paid off. This may sound a clichéd statement but only I know what I’ve gone through over the last few years,” Poddar added.

For a man who has dirtied his school uniform selling fish after sunset day in and day out, nothing is clichéd. In fact, the path he has treaded to fortify his passion is extraordinary.

“No one believed me when I said that refereeing will be my bread and butter. But I did, all along.

“I have been running my family from a very young age by selling fish. But when I took to my heels and decided to become a referee, my fish business took a knock. Sales started deteriorating as I could not devote much time.

“My rigorous training consumed all the time. I had full faith in what I was doing and I got rewarded too by officiating International Matches like the International Friendly between Argentina and Venezuela. But financially, I started suffering the most. The last two years have been the hardest,” he narrated.

The Serampore-born Bengali FIFA Referee has also officiated in the Exhibition Match between the Indian National Team and Bayern Munich in New Delhi.

“There was a time when I used to wake up every morning and go training with the headache that when I return, what will I eat. I have a sick mother. What Will I feed her?

“All that is History now. I have proved that you can earn a living by becoming a Referee,” proclaimed Poddar, referring to his new job.

“I am grateful to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Col. Goutam Kar, Head of Referees AIFF for the support. Goutam-Sir has been a pillar of strength for me. He has been there for me all the time. Without their support, I wouldn’t have seen the light at the end of a very dark tunnel,” he admitted.

“I also need to thank the West Bengal Government and State Sports Minister Mr. Madan Mitra, and Becharam Manna (Minister of State, Agriculture) for giving me the opportunity to earn a living. Now I can fully concentrate on my career. Those nightmares won’t haunt me anymore,” Poddar expressed.

Kar expressed his satisfaction over Refereeing being able you ‘Bread and Butter.’

“So you can earn a living by becoming a Referee. Biplab is the best example. As a tutor, it’s so satisfying to see his growth. He has gone through a lot. But he has been able to see light and that’s purely due to his hard work and will power,” Kar quipped.

“I will give it all to Football now. My mind is free of worries. I feel like a free bird,” Poddar declared.

The sheer relief in his voice could not be missed. Money can no more put a spanner in Poddar’s works. The hurdle is passed.

(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)