First woman FIFA referee from Bhutan

Twenty-seven-year old Choki Om is the first woman from Bhutan to be a woman Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) referee.

Choki Om was appointed as FIFA referee in 2017.

She started refereering since her school days.

Choki Om is from Wangdue. She has a bachelor’s degree in commerce and finance from Gedu College of Business Studies from where she graduated in 2015.

Choki Om said that it has been over a decade since she started refereering.

“I actually didn’t start refereeing as my passion,” she said, adding that her physical education teacher suggested her to attend a basic refereeing course.

She had to referee in the school tournaments, which initially was very tiring for her since she didn’t have take an active interest in it.

However, later when she was given the opportunity to officiate in the national school tournaments, her interest grew and she could perform well as a referee.

Choki Om has also participated in a master’s course. Further she attended courses along with national referees and seniors who have more knowledge on laws of the games conducted by the Bhutan Football Federation.

“When I see others climbing up the ladder of success, I had to somehow do better than them and I think these mentality of performing better than my seniors inspires me to work harder and do well,” she said.

She said it was worth competing since she would get opportunities to officiate national school games.

She also went for AFC U14 festivals twice in Sri Lanka and Nepal.

After completing her degree, she ended up choosing to be a national woman referee on the football field.

She added that one cannot easily get into FIFA panel and it took almost a decade for her too.

“This is indeed a proud moment for me to say that I am the first woman to be a woman FIFA referee from Bhutan and the credit goes to all my seniors, fellow mates and especially my instructor,” she said.

She said that challenges on the job include players going against the referee but “it is a normal thing in all tournaments, even in the international tournaments.”

So far, Choki Om has officiated more than 12 matches. 

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu