Incidents over the course of the current season of the Hero Indian Super League have put the focus back on those officiating the sport. From questions related to their competence and ability, to almost shouldering the blame for the overall state of football in the country, referees seem to have a target painted squarely on their backs. While their decisions come under continuous scrutiny and criticism, referees are expected to follow a code of conduct that includes a media gag. With Col. (retd.) Goutam Kar, who currently heads Bhutan’s referee development programme and earlier did the same job for the All India Football Federation, we examine some of the realities of working as a referee in Indian football and why this subset is judged by a moral framework that doesn’t seem to apply to fans, players, coaches or clubs.