CHENNAI: Veteran football administrator, former chairman of the referees board of the AIFF and secretary of the Tamil Nadu Football Association, TR Govindarajan passed away in the city on Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 91 and leaves behind wife, three sons and three daughters. ‘TRG’ as he is popularly known in football circles, not only in Tamil Nadu but also at the national level, was for long synonymous with football affairs in Tamil Nadu. He was meticulous in his work and valued punctuality.
Football was a passion for him from his younger days, though a playing career was not what was destined for him. Serving the Railways until his retirement in 1983, TRG’s interest was in administration and refereeing. He served the TFA as secretary for close to 25 years in various phases until 2008. He was also vice-president and treasurer of TFA but above all he was the first secretary of the Madras Football Association when it was formed.
Refereeing took him to places but more importantly he officiated in all important tournaments in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and became a national referee in 1958. TRG was the central referee in the 1967 Santosh Trophy finals in Cuttack and also in the quadrangular tournament in Colombo, 1968. After his active years in refereeing, TRG took other duties — match commissioner in Santosh Trophy and National Football League, referee’s instructor and examiner of AIFF and capped them all by becoming the chairman of referees board. It was TRG who inspired K Sankar, S.Suresh, Pradeep and Bhaskar to rise to the FIFA referees’ panel.