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India's FIFA Certified Referee Drives An Auto Rickshaw For Living

40-year-old Santosh Kumar from Kottayam, Kerala is an Indian professional football referee who officiates primarily in the I-League.

He always had a dream to be on the football ground, and million of eyes were watching him when he kicks to hit the goal. He had a strong desire of becoming a footballer.

In 2012, he was one among the three others who clinched FIFA certification of a professional referee by All India Football Federation. He is India's one of the six FIFA- Certified referees. But being at the top sixth among the billions is not considered an achievement for him as India holds 147th rank for football in the world. Now, at the age of 40 when he is no more on the ground, he has to drive an auto rickshaw to survive himself and his family. 

India's FIFA Certified Referee Drives An Auto Rickshaw For Living

India's FIFA Certified Referee Drives An Auto Rickshaw For Living

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Santhosh Kumar, FIFA certified referee of India.

Santhosh Kumar, FIFA certified referee of India.

He wanted to be a footballer but at the age of 21 he suffered a knee injury and could not become a player.

He wanted to be a footballer but at the age of 21 he suffered a knee injury and could not become a player.

Kumar had to give up playing football, instead, focusing on refereeing the game.

 Kumar had to give up playing football, instead, focusing on refereeing the game.

His dream to be on the football playground came true and he used to referee unofficial matches in Kerala.

His dream to be on the football playground came true and he used to referee unofficial matches in Kerala.

Keeping eyes on the players and running with them on the ground was enough for his happiness.

Keeping eyes on the players and running with them on the ground was enough for his happiness.

But, being a football referee in India is not enough to make ends meet.

But, being a football referee in India is not enough to make ends meet.

Santhosh worked as a caretaker at an apartment complex in Kottayam.

Santhosh worked as a caretaker at an apartment complex in Kottayam.

Then, he had to drive an auto rickshaw to fulfill his basic needs.

Then, he had to drive an auto rickshaw to fulfill his basic needs.

Becoming a professional referee in India was not an easy task for him.

Becoming a professional referee in India was not an easy task for him.

He had to work out for several hours, practice for football and undergo the fitness test to achieve the accreditation of the FIFA- referee.

He refereed 150 matches in a year and had to run 11 kms with players on the ground in every match.

He refereed 150 matches in a year and had to run 11 kms with players on the ground in every match.

Santhosh has received an award of the best referee by the AIFF.

As craze for football is increasing in youth, he is hoping to get a government job of football referee.

As craze for football is increasing in youth, he is hoping to get a government job of football referee.

When he will turn 45, he will not be able to referee matches anymore.

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