For the first time in history, female match officials took centre stage at this year’s Fiji Football Association IDC tournament,

Torika Delai was the referee for the Premier Division match between Tailevu Naitasiri and Tavua at HFC Bank Stadium, while Jemaima Rao officiated the opening match of the Senior Division between Bua FC and Lami FC at Bidesi Park.

It follows both officials being part of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup earlier this year, with Delai one of the five referees selected and Jemima Rao among the assistant referees.

Torika Delai (left) and Jemaima Rao. Credit: FFA

FFA referees development officer Rakesh Varman said it is an important step in the development of female match officials in the country.

“In every district we need female referees, as women’s football is growing in Fiji,” Varman said.

“We want women referees to control women’s games.

“We have grown from two to 16 women referees in the country and five are doing Super League (second division) games.”

Both Delai and Rao came through the FFA system, attending weekly training sessions and completing courses organised by the Member Association.