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Kumar for Brazil

Arin Kumar
Friday, January 17, 2014

NADROGA-based schoolteacher Ravinesh Kumar will be the first Fijian to officiate at the FIFA World Cup.

The FIFA referees committee this week finalised a 90-member referees' panel for the 2014 FIFA World Cup to be hosted in Brazil.

And a statement from the Fiji Football Association said Kumar had been selected as an assistant referee and is part of the Oceania trio, which also comprises New Zealanders Peter O'Leary and Jan Hintz.

Tahiti's Norbert Hauata and Mark Rule of New Zealand have been selected as a support duo.

Fiji FA president Rajesh Patel said in the statement this was a proud moment for football in the country.

"This is a major achievement for Ravinesh Kumar who has been working hard for the past three years and finally has achieved what he had set out to do," he said.

"On behalf of the football family, I would like to congratulate him and wish him all the best.

"This is a proud moment for football in the country, referees department, young referees, footballers and the fans.

"To see our referee officiating at the biggest football event in the world will be a pleasing sight.

"This should lift the profile of refereeing in Fiji and is something for other referees to aim for."

He said Kumar's appointment should set the platform for the sport to further progress.

"It is very important for Fiji FA to continue the hard work and provide the platforms for referees, national teams and players to excel at the international stage.

"This should not be a one-off thing but the start of many other positive things to come our way."

The statement said past local referees had officiated at the FIFA age-group World Cup's but had fallen short of a FIFA World Cup berth.

It said Finau Vulivuli created history by being the first to officiate at the FIFA Women's World Cup.

"Between now and the World Cup, the selected group of match officials will participate in three seminars: February, March/April, and the last one, 10 days before the kick-off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup," said the statement.

"Notable achievements for Kumar include being the first Fijian to officiate at the Olympic Games and FIFA Club World Cup."

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