Ilias Shameem, the only referee from Telangana in the Prime Volleyball League, is having a challenging experience in the shorter format of the sport in the ongoing tournament.

“Definitely, we have to be extra alert and really quick in taking a call. There is pressure on the players and the referees too because the game is too fast-paced,” said the 49-year-old, who got the FIVB Referees’ Badge in 2003.

“This is like the T20 format in cricket, fast, exciting and equally challenging for everyone involved in the PVL,” the former state junior player said.

The Physical Director in Methodist College of Engineering has officiated in 13 of the 20 matches and is pleased that the ‘Review’ system was in force from the knockout phase on Thursday. “This is a great relief as it means less pressure. Even if one commits a mistake inadvertently, it can be corrected. Well, it doesn’t mean we can relax but definitely cannot be pulled up for bias in refereeing,” he said.

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Shameem, backed by 18 years of international experience ever since he made his debut in the 2003 Asian junior boys championship in Visakhapatnam, is keen to work in the Asian Games.

“Not many are aware that a referee has to score a minimum of 90 marks awarded for every match after a critical evaluation by the technical panel. So, we have to keep an eye on that,” he said. “I was rated as the best second referee in the 2011 Asian senior championship in Tehran where the big teams took part,” he concluded.