The sport of soccer and hockey has lost a very knowledgeable and valuable man in S. Kathiravale when he passed away yesterday morning at the age of 83.
The former teacher who had the rare distinction of being an international soccer referee and hockey umpire has been involved in the games for more than 40 years.
He was a rare quality of officials who are hard to come by these days.
The ever-friendly Kathiravale was not only knowledgeable in the rules of both soccer and hockey, but he was a great official who hardly got into any controversies because of his style of application of the rules, his approach to the players, many of whom he knew by name, even cracks a joke to diffuse situations and hardly gave room for his decisions to be questioned.
His hallmark in the game was the way he blew with a shrieking blast, that anyone passing would recognise the blow and associate to Kathiravale.
I had known Kathiravale for about 40 years from my playing days when I had the honour of playing with him as a referee in the local league in the 70s and later become a good friend as a sport journalist.
He was my 'guru" to the game as a journalist, for whenever I had a doubt or needed clarification, I would seek his expertise. He always obliged me even at times when I called him late in the night.
I can remember the countless times I have sat with him in various Stadiums around Malaysia, especially at the Merdeka Stadium during matches when he was the match inspector to pick his brains on decisions of referees and the rules of the game.
And Kathiravale was an excellent teacher because he has a joke for about everything he explains which makes it difficult for one to forget what he has imparted.
I remember the times when I had laughed at his jokes till tears flowed from my eyes.
He was such a lively person and delight to be in his company.
Even after having left the Malay Mail in 2006, I still kept in touch with him and even two weeks before he passed away I had called him to ask him about the abandoned FA Cup match between Pahang and Johor Darul Takzim and how I wished present officials could have explained the situation and what needed actions needed to be taken like him.
And when I got a message yesterday morning that he had passed away, I was shocked because he did not show any sign of ill health in the conversation with me. He was his jovial self besides being sharp and witty.
|Karthiravale with Datuk Peter Velappan (left) and N. Thanabalan|
I also remember when I invited Kathiravale to be the advisor and match commissioner for the inaugural Ex-International Veterans Invitational soccer 9s in 2011 in September in conjunction with the Malaysia Day.
|Karthiravale (left) at the Team Manager's meeting|
He never stopped thanking me for remembering him and still valuing his expertise. He was even more happier that he could meet up with ex-internationals whom he had officiated in matches they played during their heydays.
He even met Tengku Mahkota of Pahang who the guest-of-honour for the tournament and exchanged some words.
|Karthiravale at the Ex-Internationals Soccer Dinner|
May his soul rest in peace and I am very sure he will be happy to be in the company of his great friends in the game and equals with him as an icon of sport in referees like Singapore's George Suppiah who passed away in December at 83 and Selangor Koh Guan Kit who passed away three years ago.
If Kathiravale was alive, he would have joked: "With so many ex-international players and referees passing away, we should be able to host a World Cup up there in the heavens!"
That will be Kathiravale for you. He will make one smile even at the saddest news!
Goodbye dear Karthiravale.
For the record:
Was born in 1921 in Seremban, Negri Sembilan
Teacher for 31 years until he retired in 1990
Was awarded the AFC Distinguished Service Award – Gold Star recipient earlier this year.
Inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s Hall of Fame last year.
Recipient of the FIFA 100th Year Special Service Award in 2004.
FIFA International Referee between 1971 and 1980, AFC International Referee Instructor from 1975 to 2000 (one of the first three AFC instructors) and FIFA International Referee Instructor from 1986 to 2000.
At the continental level, Kathiravale officiated the final match between Iran and Korea Republic in the 5th Asian Cup in Bangkok, Thailand in 1972 and the inaugural Women’s Asian Cup final between Thailand and New Zealand in 1975 in Hong Kong.
Kathiravale was an official not only in football but also in hockey and is always remembered as perhaps the only Malaysian who officiated in two Asian Games finals in two sports.
In 1974, he was the umpire for the India and Pakistan hockey final in the 7th Asian Games in Tehran, Iran. Four years later, in 1978, he was senior linesman in the 8th Asian Games football final between Korea Republic and DPR Korea in Bangkok.
He was an international FIH umpire for 11 years - 1968-1979.
He was one of the two Malaysian umpires (the other being Datuk G. Vijayanathan) who officiated in the 1975 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
Kathiravale was also the referee for the Japan-Korea Republic qualification match in Tokyo, Japan for the 1978 FIFA World Cup.
He has served not only as an umpire and referee, but also as a technical official, tournament director and instructor.
He has also played hockey with TPCA and is a life member of the association.Read the article in AFC's website on the passing of Karthiravale: http://www.the-afc.com/en/