Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia today said that frequent stopping of the game by the referees rob the spectators of the excitement. "Indian referees are killing the game. When the flow of the game is disrupted frequently, people lose interest. Even I tend to shuffle the channels while watching I-League games at times," said Bhutia in a media interaction here.
Pointing out that the pace of the game is already very slow in India, Bhutia said if "on top of that, the ball tends to go out of the ground quite often and under such circumstances, if a referee keeps stopping the game for minor fouls like two guys jumping for a header...it just kills the interest."
Comparing Indian football to the Spanish and Barclays Premier league games, the skipper said, "The standard of football refereeing in India is far below as compared to any international level. Good referring builds the interest in the game and they should allow the game to flow.
"There is a serious need to change the tempo of the game and referees should be trained to allow the game to flow," he explained. Criticising the ground conditions in Shillong, Bhutia said, "The turf is difficult.
We don't have big body strikers. We play ground passes that the ground does not allow. "A good ground can give some 30-40 per cent lift to the game and people can watch quality football," Bhutia said. Bhutia's new club Sikkim United has played three matches, all of which resulted in draws so far in the ongoing final leg of the Second Division I League.