Ruba Devi is a pioneer in every sense of the word, and she proudly declares her devotion to her passion: “Football is close to my heart and refereeing will help me continue my association with the sport for a long time.”
Ruba Devi’s introduction into the world of sports was a stroke of destiny. She started playing football when she was only a student of Class 6 at St. Joseph’s Girls’ School in her quiet hometown, Dindigul. She would never have imagined that this little spark would soon fan a blaze in the international realm of football. Her love for the game saw her through a rapid progression: she played in the sub-junior level at her school, she began participating in district level football tournaments and by 2006, Ruba became a part of the Dindigul Football Federation thus marking the beginning of her sporting journey.
Ruba has surmounted more than her fair share of challenges: she lost both her parents in 2010 and 2011, and supported herself through the matches she went on to play. This was at a time when national level football for women was virtually non-existent. In 2012, heeding the advice from some senior referees, Ruba joined the referee development school.
Since then, Ruba has soared in the football forum, to say the least. She went on to referee several major matches in 2013 and was chosen to referee at the Asian Football Confederation, for the under-14 football festival held in Doha. Ruba was the only Indian selected as part of the Asian ‘Future Referees’ project at that time. Three years after beginning to officiate matches and appearing for the FIFA examination, Ruba is now a qualified international referee. Ruba Devi has thus created a new opportunity for women footballers by becoming the first woman from Tamil Nadu to qualify as FIFA referee.