This summer, it is not the national team that is responsible for the successful performance on the world stage on behalf of the Russian side, but our referees: Sergey Karasev successfully worked at the European Championship, now it’s the turn Anastasia Pustovoitova and Ekaterina Kurochkina – they are waiting for the final of the Olympic Games among women’s teams. On August 6, they will referee the match between Canada and Sweden in Tokyo.
Pustovoitova is the most successful female referee in Russia and one of the best in the world. This spring, for the first time in the history of our country, she judged the match of men’s teams – she worked as the chief referee at the match “Chertanovo” – “SKA-Khabarovsk” in the FNL. Below is her story.
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Anastasia grew up in a military family. Since childhood, she dreamed of serving in the army, and she also studied karate in secret from her parents.
She was born in Czechoslovakia in a military family, therefore, according to her, childhood was “Spartan”: discipline, justice, quick wakes up in the morning, moving from one military town to another, friendship with the boys in the courtyard with whom she played tag, hide and seek and football. For some time I even dreamed of following the path of my father: “All my childhood I took caps, until some time I really wanted to go to the army”.
When in the late 80s the Pustovoitov family moved to Moscow, Anastasia and her sister turned out one scam in secret from their parents – it turned out to be so successful that mom and dad did not know where their daughter was running for three years. “On the quiet, my sister made an agreement with the karate coach at our school,” Pustovoitova said in an interview with Katerina Gordeeva. – Then it was very fashionable, these underground karate clubs. She arranged for me to be accepted, although he was overwhelmed. He said: “Okay, bring me, I’ll see, if not, I’m sorry.” And I stayed, I began to do very well. If I had gone further, I think that I would have been able to do the same in martial arts … There were no girls, they always put me in sparring with the guys, they mutuzi me. Maybe it’s just the temper and tempered ”.
But Pustovoitova decided not to build a career in martial arts – she chose football. There was no hide and seek – her parents supported her in every possible way, although they did not really accept her choice: “The parents were not so happy, but they understood that it was better to send the child to sports, otherwise the street would bring him up”. At the age of 15, Anastasia has already received a call to the youth national team of Russia, three years later she got into the main team, with which she went to Euro 2001 and the 2003 World Cup. A year later, Pustovoitova’s playing career ended, but she did not leave football – she got a job as an administrator at Dynamo, and at the same time followed the referee’s path.
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Pustovoitova’s career developed rapidly: in 2009 she became a FIFA referee, in 2017 she entered the top ten women referees.
It all started with the Russian women’s tournaments in Russia, and then how it went: the Universiade, the U17 European Championship, the Champions League and the world championships. In 2012, she was first assigned to a men’s team match – CSKA and Lokomotiv youth teams played.
“The first pancake turned out to be lumpy, although I don’t regret it,” she said in an interview with Gordeeva. – Usually I try to pretend that I don’t hear anything, however, when insults are heard not only by the players, but also by my colleagues, I have to delete them. Then I removed Khurtsidze, because he insulted mom and dad. After the game I thought I didn’t want to anymore. I walked into the locker room tired, exhausted and said: “Yes, he went, this is your men’s football.”
The guy she then deleted, then wrote to her on social networks asking why she did it. Pustovoitova realized that she could not cope with men’s football, either mentally or physically, and asked Roberto Rosetti, who was then head of the Russian refereeing corps, not to appoint her to men’s matches. But then she cooled down, grew up as a professional (she won many international matches among women and entered the top ten judges!) And firmly decided that she wanted to work in the RPL.
A step towards the dream has already been made: in March of last year, Pustovoitova was appointed a reserve referee for the match between Lokomotiv and Akhmat in the RPL, in April this – the main one in the FNL. Sergei Juran was then pleased with her work and even asked to appoint Anastasia more often. Sergey Karasev was the first to congratulate his colleagues then: “He wrote to me:“ Don’t worry! You will make your debut in the RPL. And I will be your VAR! “. Everything will be but not immediately. I still need to complete my VAR training. So in a couple of years I will be in the RPL. If health permits ”.
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Pustovoitova was repeatedly asked to “help if there is an opportunity.” But she never went to such a thing – her name and status are more important to her than money.
The chief referee in women’s football earns 15 thousand rubles – minus taxes, and it turns out a little more than 13. But, despite the low salary, Pustovoitova never agreed to “help”: “I am a FIFA referee. It’s not that I’m not going to – I’m afraid of losing my badge. Because if I am caught in something – that’s it, the end of my career and, it turns out, of my whole life. Some kind of money … My name, my status is more important to me. Let me earn 13 thousand rubles today, as we are paid for women, but tomorrow I will have big dividends. Because there are more European matches, the pay is completely different there. Thanks to only international trips, you can afford a good car, go on vacation. It’s hard to live just like that by refereeing. “