Clattenburg: offside armpits and accidental handballs

This season was the first which involved the use of video assistant referees in the Premier League - and it's fair to say it had its ups and downs! With the use of lines on the screen for offsides, a new handball rule and a lack of using pitchside monitors, VAR was a talking point just about every week as the league acclimatised to the new technology. Former Premier League referee and Sportsmail columnist Mark Clattenburg gives his thoughts on VAR's debut season in English football. 
Offside armpits 
Remember when David McGoldrick was denied his first Premier League goal because John Lundstram’s big toe was millimetres offside in the build-up? Sheffield United’s supporters were going wild at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but after a four-minute examination at Stockley Park, they were sucker-punched. But this is not the technology’s fault. This is down to the lawmakers, and the offside law is one which the International Football Association Board (IFAB) need to address. In football, everybody wants to see goals. That’s what makes the game exciting. Yet our attackers are being left at a severe disadvantage. We get frustrated when we see Stockley Park zooming in to see whether an armpit is offside, but the VAR is just doing what he’s told to do. It’s the law that’s to blame for this. 
Accidental handballs 
A defender accidentally handles the ball in his own box and nothing happens. An attacker accidentally handles the ball and his goal gets chalked off. It’s not right but, as with offside, this is not the fault of the VAR. They are only following the letter of the law and it’s the law which needs to be looked at. Everybody accepts that if someone does a Diego Maradona against England in 1986, or a Thierry Henry against the Republic of Ireland in 2009, then that deserves ruling out. But we saw the uproar after Harry Kane’s equaliser against Sheffield United was disallowed because of a handball by Lucas Moura. He knew nothing about it. Did that deserve to rob that game of a goal? I don’t think so. 
Pitchside monitors 
The little shake of the head and shrug from Mike Dean after the VAR awarded Arsenal an early penalty against Watford on Sunday said it all. Dean hadn’t pointed to the spot after a collision between Craig Dawson and Alexandre Lacazette at the Emirates Stadium. But the VAR looked at it and, after three minutes, decided it was a foul by Dawson. Why not let Dean use that time to decide for himself by using the pitchside monitor? The on-field referee is seeing his calls over-ruled by Stockley Park and that’s frustrating. But the ignoring of monitors is not entirely down to the direction of the PGMOL and its boss Mike Riley. Clubs have made it clear they do not want the flow of the games interrupted. 
Lack of leadership 
I want to see a leader leading and Mike Riley, the head of the PGMOL, does not engage with the media. He sends others to do that, such as Dermot Gallagher on Sky Sports. Gallagher is always looking to support the referees. I get that it might be good for morale but sometimes the truth would be nicer. Educate us on why the Premier League does it differently to other leagues. Explain the shunning of monitors. Go back to basics and let the referees be referees. I’m seeing officials out there who are too afraid to blow their whistles because they don’t want to be told they’re wrong. VAR is about overturning clear and obvious mistakes, not causing more confusion. Riley should be encouraging his officials to be brave and make their own decisions. 
VAR’s first season rating out of 10? 
Six. It has not been a roaring success. Earlier this month we saw three mistakes made in a single day - when Bruno Fernandes and James Ward-Prowse won penalties for Manchester United and Southampton while Tottenham weren’t awarded one for a push by Josh King on Kane. There is plenty of room for improvement but it’s the laws which need changing first and foremost. Accidental handballs and offside armpits are what have upset the rhythm of the Premier League, stripping games of excitement. 

Source: Daily Mail

Collina: Our goal is to have consistency by VARs

Chairman of FIFA's Referee Committee and former accomplished international referee Pierluigi Collina recently took part in the World Football Summit (WFS) Live online conference to discuss a wide-range of topics centred around technology's role in helping referees and namely the development and use of Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR). Speaking with ESPN's Gabriele Marcotti, Collina gave valuable insight from the perspective of a referee on one of football's greatest technological developments in recent history. 
Gabriele Marcotti: Perhaps unfairly, one mistake from a referee can seriously damage them, can hurt their career, hurt the way they’re perceived in the next match. If they make the same mistake and VAR steps in and says, 'No [inaudible]' or fixes the mistake, people become more accepting of the referee? Is that the idea? 
Pierluigi Collina: Nobody cares about the wrong decision taken on the field of play corrected by the VAR. What counts is the final outcome, what counts is the final decision. If the final decision is correct, I would say… I wrongly said nobody because people like me, dealing with the refereeing, we are certainly caring about the wrong decision initially taken by the referee on the field, because we need to improve his quality, we need to put him in a condition to take a correct decision. Basically, this is our activity, this is our job. But in terms of outcome, if the wrong decision is corrected by the VAR, at the end of the day, a correct decision is taken so nobody cares, nobody remembers, while a wrong decision taken in an important match, a key decision taken in the wrong match – we had experiences in the past – can really kill the referee’s career. So, it’s a safety net [that’s] very important for referees. 
- Is there a better way to communicate why certain decisions are made so that in the end it’s very clear to people who made a final decision and why, without this confusion? 
- What I can say is: VAR has been designed to have full control of every possible incident occurring during the match. What is different is the assessment, because it’s not the technology offering the final answer, like with the goal-line technology. It is the human being who is using technology to make the final decision. So basically, at the end there is the human being and as you know, as we all know, human beings are not perfect. Mistakes are part of being human. FIFA has the task to support member associations in their educational programmes with refereeing, including VAR. What we are trying to do is have consistent assessment, to have uniformity, to have consistent decisions taken by video assistant referees, suggesting referees to review or not something on a pitchside monitor. 
- Goal-line technology versus offside ... do you think people would have been more accepting [of VAR] if it had adopted that same black-and-white visual interpretation of goal-line technology? 
- Goal-line technology is an easier exercise compared to offside because you have a line, the goal-line between the posts, under the bar: that’s it. So, if you have a few cameras covering different angles, the cameras are standing in that position. Offside is something that can occur everywhere in roughly 55-60 metres of outfield, so it’s much more complicated to have the same kind of approach goal-line technology had. I can tell you that FIFA has a Technology Innovation Department that is studying how technology can be developed, coordinating companies all over the world in trying to find the best technology that can offer answers, not only related to referees’ decisions but, generally speaking, technology and football. It’s something that goes more in the direction of, let’s say, a final answer given by software or something similar. That might help to make the decision more accepted, so we are working [on it]. I go back, VAR is only five-years-old; it’s a young boy who is learning and who will certainly improve. 
- I wanted to ask you about the use of technology to help referees prepare for matches, to help them study the characteristics of the players, gain an advantage, make their job easier on the pitch. Could you talk a little bit about that and about some of the advancements that people might not know about? 
- I remember before the [FIFA] World Cup Final in 2002 when I refereed Germany v. Brazil, I had to watch a VHS for 90 minutes, five matches, so it took one and a half days to get all this information. Today, technology can provide it very quickly, simply by clicking on your computer, and you can get dozens of images that can offer you information about how a team plays, how players play and so on. Technology is also being used, particularly during this time of pandemic, to have courses. As I said before, FIFA has an important task, that is, to support member associations in refereeing education. We normally deliver courses all over the world. Today, it’s impossible to do it in person, so we use technology to get referees connected all over the world, or in specific countries, with our instructors. So, certainly, technology plays an important role, not only during a match, but also before the match itself. 

Source: FIFA

Syrian refereeing between politics and scandals

In Syria, referees are unprotected against the interference of club administrations, nor of that of the Syrian Federation for Football (SFF) or the General Sports Federation (GSF). Previously, many corruption cases were exposed, after which referees lost their badges and got suspended from work in 2009 after extortions by the Referees Committee. Last June, the Syrian League referees threatened to strike in case refereeing fees were not raised and penalties against them by the aforementioned committee remained in effect. In this file, Enab Baladi investigates cases of referee corruption and their relationship with the Syrian Federation for Football (SFF), as well as the Asian and International Federations. To conduct this investigation, Enab Baladi had contacted former international and local referees. 
Exerting pressure and controlling results 
Muhammad al-Ghadry, a referee in the First Division of the Syrian league, told Enab Baladi his testimony about a match between Qardaha and al-Shabab clubs in the Second Division, in which he was an assistant referee. Back then, the refereeing team received a direct threat from the president of Qardaha sports club, Muhammad Khair Bek. He descended to the dressing room, spoke loudly with the referee of the match and asked him for a penalty kick in favour of his team, then headed towards the assistant referees in a threatening tone and said: “I don’t want to see a single offside flag raised.” However, the referees’ team did not respond to his requests, and al-Ghadry concluded his story by saying, “we finished the match with the lowest possible losses!” (without penalties, assault, or dismissal as a result of malicious reports) Luckily, al-Ghadry and his colleagues suffered the least losses in 2007; however, referee Yasser al-Hussein was not lucky enough in 2009, which has witnessed a huge refereeing scandal. Former vice president of the Syrian Football Federation (SFF), Nader Al-Atrash, told Enab Baladi that al-Hussein was beaten in the dressing room at the end a match between al-Wathba SC and Jableh SC. Back then, Jableh Sporting Club had to win to remain in the first division, which was under the control of a number of brokers. Al-Atrash explained that one of the Referees Committee members appointed al-Hussein as a referee for the match, which al-Atrash described as “a joke in terms of technicality and refereeing”. Both teams tied the match at 2-2 which meant that Jableh SC ranked lower than it was supposed to. Meantime, a member of Jableh SC entered the dressing room and beat al-Hussein severely, took all his money, an estimated amount of 250 thousand Syrian Pounds, and left the dressing room. In the wake of this incident, al-Hussein’s license was suspended; however, he returned later to the pitch before announcing his retirement last June following the recent problems in the local league and the huge criticism by followers of social media platforms and local media outlets. While announcing his retirement decision, al-Hussein said that his license was suspended in 2009 as “a malicious penalty”, after being accused of match-fixing. The 2009 scandal did not pass unnoticed, according to the former international referee and the secretary of Referee’s Committee of Aleppo, Shaker Hamidi. He told Enab Baladi, that an investigation resulted in the dismissal of members of the Referees Committee and a large number of referees. So was the case in 2000 after Tishreen SC won the Syrian League championship, where a number of referees’ licenses were suspended. For his part, Nader al-Atrash recounted another incident in a match between al-Shorta SC and Hutteen SC in 2008. Back then, both teams needed to win to stay in the first-class. Hence, the referee of the match, Abd al-Rahman Rashu, was called to the “State security” branch to allow al-Shorta SC to win the match, the referee promised each side to help it, according to al-Atrash; however, the match ended in a tie. 
To what extent these entities intervene? 
Former international referee and instructor Muhannad Dibba, in an interview with Enab Baladi, considered that the current major attack on Syrian referees is a result of several “catastrophic mistakes made by them”. He also talked about some referees being under pressure in matches of al-Sahel, Jableh, Tishreen, and Qardah Sporting Clubs. Former international referee Abdullah al-Nasser believes that forming a practical refereeing base is a “very complicated and difficult process”. He also considered that corruption in refereeing is an important factor which eats away at the Syrian football.” Al-Nasser added that combating corruption in football needs organized action simply because one individual cannot eliminate it, describing refereeing as the “weakest link” in Syrian football, often blamed for all mistakes and problems. Meantime, former referee, Muhammad al-Ghadry, believes that an honest referee can reject corruption in certain situations, but certainly cannot fight it. According to referee Abdullah al-Nasser, at the beginning of the season, the Referees Committee appoints referees; yet, the names of the chosen ones will be according to the wishes of influential members. Meantime, former vice-president of the Syrian Football Federation (SFF), Nader Al-Atrash, believes that the selection of referees is done in accordance with the whims of the main referees’ committee. During the rule of the Vice-Chairman of the Referees Committee in the Syrian Federation for Football, Nizar Rabbat, all businessmen were able to choose referees based on their whims, as al-Atrash put it. Such information was verified by Enab Baladi from different sources.
What prevents FIFA and the AFC from interfering? 
There should be a connection between referees and the Federation of the International Football Associations (FIFA), but it was always tainted by corruption because nominating the formers for the FIFA international refereeing badge was conducted and conditioned by a local committee and local football federation. Such conditions included spending a specific period of time in the first division and officiating a specific number of matches there. In addition, referees must be “charismatic” and talented. All these conditions open the door for more intervention by the local committees and federations while selecting the names of referees in local contests. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) leaves room for federations to manage local contests and it does not intervene unless there is a conflict between sporting clubs and one of them filed a complaint to the FIFA or the AFC, which is impossible, according to the former international referee, instructor and observer Muhannad Dibba. He explained that whoever files a complaint is qualified by sports authorities and security services “a traitor to the country” and thus they are forced to resign, which was the case with former President of SFF, Salah Ramadan.
Where Syrian referees stand? 
Syrian referee Farouk Bouzo refereed matches in the 1978 World Cup, in addition to Jamal al-Sharif who officiated at the 1994 World Cup, preceded by the late referee Fawzi Tello, as an assistant referee in the 1966 World Cup qualifiers in a match between Turkey and Portugal along with late referee Rashad Hawasli. However, for years Syrian referees have not participated in international matches. International referee Abdullah al-Nasser told Enab Baladi that for Syrian referees to officiate international matches they need strong presidents of SFF and the Referees Committee, in addition to good international connections, especially when they have good reputations, they can easily promote a positive image about Syrian referees to the globe. Throughout its history, the SFF had good ties with both FIFA and the AFC Referees’ Committee thanks to Brigadier Farouk Bouzo, who contributed in improving the image of Syrian referees globally and continually, as al-Nasser put it. He also justified this through the participation of former international referee Jamal al-Sharif in three World Cups, namely in 1986, 1990, and 1994. International referee Shaker Hamidi agrees with al-Nasser, and added that until 2010, Syria had six “elite” referees at the continental level, thanks to Farouk Bouzo who managed to promote a good image about Syrian referees abroad. Muhannad Dibba believes that previously Syria was present in Arab, Asian, and International federations, which is no longer the case, since it has no representation due to the weakness of the current personnel, and therefore an absence of referees. Dibba added that lack of development in the refereeing system along with the corruption incident of 2009, as well as lack of talents, let alone the spread of patronage-based relationships, all have urged continental and international federations to lose faith and confidence in Syrian refereeing. Meantime, Nader al-Atrash said that the absence of referees of international forums comes as a result of sanctions imposed on the Syrian regime as well as referees’ poor performance in recent years. 

Source: Enab Baladi

Second FA Cup Final for Taylor

Anthony Taylor will become the first referee to take charge of two FA Cup finals since 1901 when Arsenal face Chelsea at Wembley on 1 August. Referees usually take charge of the FA Cup final just once in their career. The move is because coronavirus rules mean the game will be behind closed doors, and the Football Association does not want a referee’s family to miss out on attending the match. Taylor previously took charge of the 2017 FA Cup final. That match was also between Chelsea and Arsenal, with the Gunners winning 2-1.
"A significant part of the cup final appointment is the opportunity to share this - the English refereeing pinnacle - with partners, family, friends and those who have been an important part of their long journey to the final," said FA referees’ committee chairman David Elleray. “Sadly, this year’s final will be very different and will be held without all these elements in an empty stadium. With this in mind, the committee decided it would be unfair to appoint someone who has not yet done the final and have, instead, appointed Anthony Taylor to his second FA Cup final.”
Taylor will be just the eighth person to referee the FA Cup final more than once and the first since Arthur Kingscott oversaw the 1901 final between Sheffield United and Tottenham - Spurs won a replay also refereed by Kingscott 3-1 - the season after officiating in Bury's 4-0 win over Southampton.

Source: BBC

Al Bakkar‎ writes history in Lebanon

With women’s football becoming increasingly popular in the Arab world, it comes as no surprise to see more women taking up refereeing and officiating their games. One woman, by the name of Doumouh Al Bakkar, has gone a step further step, however, making history by officiating several men’s games after becoming one of the leading referees of women’s football in Lebanon. 
Al Bakkar started out as a player before concentrating on coaching. 2014 would be a turning point in the life of the young Lebanese woman after she attended a “Referees of Tomorrow” training course organised by her national Football Association. Enthralled from the very start, six years on she remains as passionate as ever about the profession. Asked how she went from being a player to a coach and finally a referee, Al Bakkar told “I participated in the “Referees of Tomorrow” course in 2014. It was a new challenge for me in the world of football and I wanted to gain new skills. At that time, I liked the idea of taking charge of games, making sure they ran smoothly, and developing myself more in the world of football.” Al Bakkar enjoyed remarkable success in her new profession, going on to officiate the Lebanese Women’s Cup final several times in addition to the Women’s League final. She also refereed matches in the qualifiers for the AFC U-16 and U-19 Women's Championships and the qualifiers for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, as well as several women’s tournaments in West Asia and women’s fixtures in Bahrain, UAE, Lebanon, and Jordan. Al Bakkar’s excellent work earned her an international badge in 2016, allowing her to become one of most prominent female referees in Asia. She then refereed several friendly men’s games in addition to some second-division fixtures and youth tournaments. Asked about the differences between taking charge of women’s and men’s games, Al Bakkar said: “Women’s matches are different from men’s in terms of level, player experience and tactics. Football used to be a men’s sport. They therefore have much more experience and play many more games, which has an impact on the standard, performance and playing style. This in turn requires more physical effort, a different way of moving around the pitch, and a distinct refereeing style. I wouldn’t say men’s games are more difficult – in fact, they’re easier in terms of reading the game – but they require firm management and a strong personality." Al Bakkar believes that her success as a referee will motivate other girls to follow suit. “I support every girl who loves football and wants to get into refereeing. I never hesitate to offer help and share my knowledge and experience with those I meet to encourage them to follow the same path." 
Al Bakkar's success took on an international dimension when she took part in the Summer Universiade Chinese Taipei 2017. There she officiated several games in the women’s football tournament, including the quarter-final between Canada and Brazil, before being chosen as part of the refereeing team for the final between Brazil and Japan. Unsurprisingly, she has fond memories of that tournament. “The Japan-Brazil final has been the most notable game of my career to date. It was my first experience refereeing outside Lebanon. There were lots of fans, and the style of play was very different. I still remember that wonderful feeling to this day,” she recalled. “I worked hard to be selected for the final and managed to make it happen. I learned that perseverance pays off and I developed a much deeper love for the game,” she added. Al Bakkar aspires to make a name for herself internationally and hopes that one day a Lebanese woman will officiate at the FIFA Women’s World Cup – something she thinks will inevitably happen. “We want to represent Lebanon at the World Cup and I hope I can personally do this. However, if I can’t, I’m certain another female referee will make the finals because we’re learning and getting better at the job, and one day the opportunity will arise." Asked about her future goals, Al Bakkar concluded the interview by saying: “I want to succeed and make a good name for myself in Asia so that I can referee finals and then take part in the World Cup. It’s a long journey that requires enormous perseverance.” 

Source: FIFA

Referee Xistra bursts out crying after his last match

Referee Carlos Xistra said goodbye to the football pitch with tears in his eyes at the end of the encounter between FC Porto and Moreirense, from the 33rd round of the Portuguese league.
The 46-year-old referee ended the match and took off his refereeing shirt, showing another shirt with the message “Thank you family and friends”. Xistra, visibly moved, with many tears in his eyes, was greeted and embraced by several representatives of both teams, bringing even more emotion to the end of the referee's career.

Source: Lux24

Gonzalez, the last Spanish referee to retire due to age

On 19 July 2020, another referee from the old guard of Primera Division has retired. Sevilla-Valencia was the last match refereed by Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez. Specifically, it was his 202 match in the highest category of Spanish football. He spent 10 seasons in the First Division, where he debuted in a Zaragoza-Tenerife on 29 August 2009. The only thing missing for the referee was achieving international status. In spite of that, he was one of the most important referees in Spain, where he was named the best referee of the 2014-2015 season. He is also the last Spanish referee forced to retire due to age. The regulatory modification undertaken by the CTA and approved by the RFEF means that, starting from the next season, the referees will have a professional contract with the Spanish federation that will be renewable annually and the age limit will be removed, allowing the Referees Committee (CTA) to decide who should retire.
Gonzalez Gonzalez is leaving at his best in form, after a difficult season, where, in addition to the confinement forced by Covid-19, he had to be without refereeing for a month because of an injury. Some discomfort prevented him from passing the fitness tests of last November, which, according to the CTA regulations, kept him out of refereeing until the end of December. In good physical condition, he would have been the clear favorite to whistle the December classic at the Camp Nou, as icing on his long career. His first great game afterwards was Barcelona-Atletico de Madrid, in the semi-finals of the Super Cup. Now, he will continue as VAR where, after the modification mentioned above, the limit of two seasons will be removed, allowing officials to perform these functions as long as the CTA considers appropriate. Right now only two former referees are in this situation: Alvarez Izquierdo, who is currently in his second season as VAR since he left active refereeing in June 2018, and Iglesias Villanueva, in his first season after leaving active refereeing last year. This new employment contract, to which they will also be subject, will lead to a change, allowing Gonzalez Gonzalez to join the VAR officials starting from the 2020-2021 season.

Source: Iusport

Clattenburg hangs up his whistle to become Head of Referees in Greece

Mark Clattenburg has called time on his refereeing career ahead of taking up a UEFA position in Greece. The former Premier League official is in talks to become the country’s head of refereeing, working in association with UEFA as they attempt to clean up Greek football.
Clattenburg was unable to return to his role as a referee in China’s Super League this summer because of visa restrictions for foreign nationals, and he will now step away from his career on the pitch. The Sportsmail columnist said: ‘The time is right to quit refereeing. At 45 it becomes a different challenge mentally. Now, I want to start looking at the education and management side of refereeing. I’ve had a wonderful career and I want to put my experience back in rather than walking away. It’s an exciting new chapter and challenge.’ Clattenburg will assemble his own team in Greece, including a referees’ manager and a VAR manager. The country’s big four clubs have agreed they want him to take charge of officiating and it is hoped he will begin his new role next month.
The pinnacle of Clattenburg’s refereeing career came in 2016 when he presided over the finals of the FA Cup, Champions League and European Championship. He took charge of his first Premier League match in 2004 and spent 13 years in the top flight. After leaving the Premier League in 2017, he moved to Saudi Arabia to become the top referee in the country, replacing Howard Webb. He remained in the gulf until 2019, when he moved to the Chinese Super League.

Source: Daily Mail

Unexpected test for Spanish referee

A few years ago, in a match between the Hurricane and Logrones, the referee and one of the assistants were injured. The match continued because there was a referee in the audience who came down from the stands, dressed in shorts and led the match. Situations like this are unusual, but shows why the referees need to be prepared for any contingency. This applies to Hector Rodriguez Carpallo, born almost 29 years ago in Salamanca (he will reach this age in October), but who has lived in Alicante since he was 4. The young man spent last Friday night in the comfortable role of fourth referee when he was told that he has to referee one of the matches with the greatest media focus of the week: Real Madrid-Alaves on Matchday 35.
At a decisive moment of the season, with the team of Zidane in advantage in the ranking and with the referees - and the application of VAR - in the eye of the hurricane, the match was being led by Jesus Gil Manzano. The Extremaduran is considered one of the best Spanish referees. In a fortuitous situation at the end of the first half, he suffered an injury to his right ankle as a result of a collision with Lucas Vazquez. Gil Manzano tried to continue, he was even attended, but after the break he gave the whistle to his fourth official, Hector Rodriguez Carpallo, who is only serving his second season in Segunda B, where the VAR does not apply. Rodriguez Carpallo got his first taste of VAR within five minutes. Benzema received the ball in space, he waited for the right moment and he gave the ball to his left for the unmarked Asensio to tap in. The AR raised his flag as he thought the Frenchman was offside, but after a VAR review, the Segunda B referee awarded the goal.
“He studies games very well. He is highly involved in the technical committee and dedicates more than 50% of his time to refereeing. I already said that he is fully prepared for this type of circumstance”, indicated Pepe Enguix. In such a decisive moment of the competition in which the Federation prefers that the referees do not make statements, the referee from Alicante lived the day after normally. Despite the fact that it was the most relevant situation in the career of this Bachelor of Science in Physical Activity and Sports that started late in refereeing. He completed the course at the age of 17 and did not start until he became of majority age: it was in an 8-a-side soccer match between Carolinas and San Blas. He went through three promotions until last season arrived in Segunda B, allowing him to referee in the Third Division and be appointed as fourth official in the First Division. There he will repeat the following year, hoping that one day refereeing in the Primera Division will not be by chance but something normal.

Two sisters refereed men's matches in Mexico after 16 years

Because the Apertura 2020 tournament will only start on July 24, the Liga MX teams are in pre-season and friendly tournaments have been developed within the plans, such as the Mexico Cup and Copa Leon, being in the latter where the Perez sisters, originally from Irapuato, Guanajuato, could be seen.
The first to enter the Nou Camp field was Diana Perez, who at 5:00 p.m. began refereeing the match who faced Pachuca against Atletico San Luis. At 8:00 p.m. it was the turn of Priscila Perez, FIFA Referee since 2019, who had her chance in the game between Leon and Juarez. The appearance of the Perez sisters on the playing field to whistle the matches of the men's teams is not a minor thing, despite the fact that they have been friendly matches. According to information from TUDN, for 16 years, a woman had not refereed a duel between men’s teams from the maximum circuit. And yes, both referees appear regularly in the women's tournament. In fact, both Diana and Priscila were part of the refereeing team that directed the grand final that Tigres and Monterrey played in December 2019. Recently, Arturo Brizio Carter, in charge of the FMF Referees Committee, assured that “it would not be far to see a woman refereeing in Liga MX” and performances like that of the Perez sisters reaffirm the idea. The last woman who refereed a men’s game in Liga MX was Virginia Tovar in 2004.

Source: Televisa

Five substitutions extended into 2021

Following the decision taken on 8 May 2020 to give competitions scheduled to be completed in 2020 the option of allowing teams to use up to five substitutes, The IFAB Board of Directors had agreed to review whether to extend this option further. On the basis of this in-depth review, which included stakeholder feedback and an analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on competition calendars, The IFAB Board of Directors has extended the option to competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 July 2021 and to international competitions scheduled to take place in July/August 2021.
The main reason for the temporary amendment to Law 3 – The Players was the impact on player welfare of competitions being played in a condensed period and in different weather conditions. The recent review has shown that the reasons for the temporary amendment remain valid and the impact on player welfare is likely to continue into 2021 due to various factors, including: 
- Some competitions which resumed in 2020 may have a shorter-than-usual recovery/preparation period before the start of their next season. 
- For many competitions, the 2020/21 season will involve matches being played in a condensed period due to a delayed start and the inability to end later than usual because of major international tournaments. 
There are no changes to the details of the temporary amendment to the Laws of the Game, which will allow for a maximum of five substitutes to be used per team. However, to avoid disruption to the game, each team will only have three opportunities to make substitutions, although substitutions made at half-time are not counted as one of the three opportunities. The decision on whether to apply this temporary amendment remains at the discretion of each competition organiser. The changing impact of the pandemic on football will be kept under constant review to ensure appropriate action is taken in the future in relation to this temporary amendment. 

Source: IFAB

Cakir selected for UEFA Champions League Finals

Cüneyt Çakir is one of the referees to take part in Lisbon, Portugal, which will host the Champions League Final Eight, starting with the quarter-finals on from 12 to 23 August 2020.
The 43-year-old referee, who has been awarded the FIFA badge since 2006, already led the 2016 Champions League final played between Barcelona and Juventus in Berlin.

Source: NTV

Brazilian court rejected Spuni lawsuit

In a well-founded decision notified to the parties on 10 July 2020, the State Court of Rio de Janeiro has dismissed in its entirety the claims brought against FIFA by Spuni Comercio de Produtos Esportivos e Marketing LTDA (“Spuni”) in relation to the use of free-kick vanishing spray.
In its decision, the court concluded that Spuni did not present conclusive evidence of patent infringement and that the idea of creating a free-kick spray did not entitle Spuni to prevent other companies from creating such sprays with a different chemical composition, since alternative products would naturally emerge on the market as the use of free-kick sprays became more commonplace. FIFA Chief Legal & Compliance Officer Emilio Garcia Silvero commented: “FIFA greatly welcomes this decision by the court, which rejects Spuni’s unfounded lawsuit and demonstrates the inaccuracy of the recent statements by Spuni that attempted to mislead the public in this matter. Once again, this decision shows that FIFA has always acted within the law and in good faith in relation to this tenuous legal dispute.”

Source: FIFA

The invention of the referee whistle

Once upon a time, the only option for referees to signal their decisions was the use of a handkerchief or – simpler yet – a raised hand. This changed in 1884. Joseph Hudson from Birmingham had been fascinated with whistles his whole life. In 1883, he was startled by the strange, discordant sound a violin made when it broke when falling to the ground. Hudson was immediately struck by the range of the piercing sound and got the idea to capture it in a whistle. That very same year he succeeded in fashioning an – as yet pealess – model. This innovative design proved of great importance to football as well as the police force. At the time, police officers were still doing their rounds carrying rattles to alert their colleagues to danger or trouble. Given that these were heavy, cumbersome objects, it comes as no surprise that police authorities were seeking an alternative noisemaker. They even held a competition for the best idea, making it a precondition that the sound produced by the winning idea could be heard from further afield than that of a rattle. It is recorded in Whistle Wizards, one of the books in the collection of Ben van Maaren of the website, that Hudson came up with the perfect solution. Hudson introduced his pealess whistle to the police, who were so impressed that they instantly ordered 21,000 to be made. According to Van Maaren, things almost went wrong for Hudson, as the police had managed to lose Hudson’s address.
The footballing world also benefited from the invention, which in 1884 Hudson followed up with the Acme Thunderer (with a pea), still the staple whistle among referees over 130 years later. In the years before the whistle became generally accepted, refs would reinforce their decisions by raising an arm, a stick, or even by waiving a handkerchief. Legend has it that the first recorded use of a referee whistle took place in 1878 during a match between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Norfolk. This story is highly speculative, however, as newspaper records mention the use of whistles – presumably the ‘police’ type – way back in 1872. Hudson did record, though, that in 1884 Aston Villa rejected his initial offer that they test his Thunderer. Hudson continued developing whistles, and by 1914 he had manufactured over 200 different models. Not until the great rewrite of the Laws of the Game in 2016-2017 was the whistle first explicitly mentioned as mandatory element of the referee’s gear. Earlier, the only reference to the whistle in the Laws was the requirement that referees sound their whistle to commence a match, at every kick-off following a goal, at the start of the second half, at every penalty kick and – where necessary – at the two kick-offs in extra time. Obviously, it was desirable to have a whistle handy for this purpose, but the whistle itself received no explicit reference anywhere in the Laws. Theoretically, it would have been possible until 2016 for a referee to smash a violin on the pitch, for we know now that this makes the same sound as a referee whistle.

Collina: “VAR must not show 'wrong idea of solidarity' with referees”

Video Assistant Referees (VAR) must not show the "wrong idea of solidarity" by appearing to protect officials who make mistakes on the pitch, the head of FIFA's Referees' Committee has said. Speaking at the World Football Summit, Italian Pierluigi Collina also stressed the importance of on-field referees using pitchside monitors during games to review decisions. 
"Another thing to be considered is a sort of wrong idea of solidarity," Collina said. "If you belong to a team, you always try to protect your team mates. If your team mate made a mistake you try to find everything to say 'no, no, no, he was correct'. It's a sort of friendship I'd say. Referees must understand the solidarity and friendship that they want to show is to tell their colleague 'be careful, you might have made a mistake. It's better that you have another chance watching the incident on a monitor, you have assessed probably wrongly,' so that finally you can avoid a mistake." Former World Cup referee Collina, 60, said wrong decisions taken in important games can "really kill a referee's career. VAR is a very important safety net," he added. 

Source: CNA

World Cup Final assistant referee Perez Hoyos kidnapped in Colombia

The story begins with a photo: the one in which the referees and captains pose before the kick-off. The protagonists, from left to right, who were there on 8 July 1990 facing the flashes and history are Diego Maradona (29 years old, blue shirt, white shorts), Colombian assistant referee Armando Perez Hoyos (38 years old, engineer, professor of a polytechnic in Medellin), referee Edgardo Codesal (39 years old, Mexican, medic gynecologist, grandson of an Argentinean), the other assistant referee, Polish Michal Listkiewicz (37 years old, gray hair, mustache) and the last one is Lothar Matthäus (29 years old, black shorts, white shirt).
The scene is known to have happened at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, converted on that day into a Munich brewery. The protagonists of that day, it is also known, will be the clumsy Sensini, the implacable Brehme, the Diego and his crying, the Moncho Monzon and his martial arts, but, above all, the protagonist will be that gentleman who commands the center of the scene: Edgardo Codesal. Logically, no one will remember that Colombian AR that is in the photo taken before the game, standing next to Maradona. Eternal hatred, bitches, rancor, everything, will take Codesal. But the truth is that a few meters from the crime scene, that is, a few meters from Sensini and Völler, there was, also as a witness, that assistant referee called Armando Perez Hoyos, the first and only Colombian in a World Cup final. He had never imagined being in the final of a World Cup: in the Campito del Departamental, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Medellin where he grew up, he was always chosen last in the pico-mount (Colombian bread and cheese). He played because he owned the ball. If someone had told him back then that he would end up in a World Cup final, he wouldn't have believed it. “That was the highlight of my career. The referee will always be the bad guy in the football movie. Our satisfactions are more personal. I remember that Dezotti even told Codesal and me that we were going to die. The same happened with Maradona. They told us everything."
The truth is that, beyond the threats of Maradona and Dezotti, it was two years before that final in Rome that Perez Hoyos was really on the verge of death. On the night of Tuesday, 1 November 1988, while he was driving with other referees to the Bogota airport, after a meeting in the Colombian AFA's Dimayor, his car was intercepted by several armed men. The other two referees were asked to get out of the vehicle, while Perez Hoyos was taken away hooded. They had him in a house, with hands and feet tied. They told him that he was there waiting for a phone call in which he would be given a message. In Colombia the “octagonal” was being played that would define the champion and it was the time of the rise of drug violence, through the Atletico Nacional of the Medellin Cartel of Pablo Escobar and of the America of the Cali Cartel of the Rodríguez Orejuela brothers. “A stranger told me by phone that the Colombian refereeing was handled very poorly. I asked him why they had chosen me and he replied that it could have been another one of the referees who had the same fate”, said Armando Perez Hoyos when he was released after more than 20 hours of captivity. He explained that he had to negotiate his freedom and that he had to agree to transmit the message: “We will get rid of the referees who whistle badly”. Perez Hoyos added “They told me that the referees should be clean" and related that the kidnappers contemptuously referred to America de Cali and Santa Fe de Bogota. The voice that spoke to him complained that these clubs frequently bought the referees and detailed that his kidnapping was the concrete result of what had happened days before, when the match between Quindio and Santa Fe had ended in a battle because of the referee, who had added too many minutes at the end. The man on the phone identified himself as a spokesperson for Atletico Nacional, Millonarios, Quindio, Pereira, Cucuta and Junior, clubs that, according to the voice, were affected by the referees. Perez Hoyos never knew whether it was Pablo Escobar who spoke to him, but he understood that he was kidnapped by the Medellin Cartel. Back then, Dimayor, through its secretary, Jorge Correa Pastrana, condemned the kidnapping of Perez Hoyos and denied the existence of a referee bribe in Colombian soccer. However, the violence continued: just a year later, after a match between Independiente de Medellin and America de Cali, the referee, Alvaro Ortega, was assassinated. This referee committed a very serious sin: two minutes before the end, he annulled a goal to Independiente (due to dangerous play), which ended up losing 3-2 against America. “That day I was next to El Patron. Escobar was very offended and ordered Chopo to find the referee Alvaro Ortega and kill him”, said John Jairo Velasquez, alias Popeye, in the documentary Los dos Escobar. Referee Alvaro Ortega was shot from a car at the exit of the Sorpresa restaurant, in Medellin, located 100 meters from the hotel where he was staying. The first shot hit him in the leg; nine others finished him off. The Colombian championship was suspended for the first time in its history and in that 1989 there was no champion.

Source: Ole

FIFA wants uniform global use of VAR

FIFA wants VAR video reviews to be applied in the same way across all competitions, as they take over direct responsibility for the system. Issues concerning VAR have been handled primarily by IFAB, the game’s law-making body, during the system’s two-year experimental phase and its introduction as part of the laws of the game. Soccer’s global governing body FIFA, however, took over the role of supporting competition organisers with the implementation of VAR from July 1. Pierluigi Collina, the Italian former World Cup referee and chairman of FIFA Referees Committee, told Reuters the move was a “natural transition”. 
“IFAB as an organisation has the duty to govern the laws of football, including VAR and the protocol and regulations. Once the laws of the game are set, IFAB’s job is over,” he said. “It is then FIFA that deals with referees’ education around the world supporting all the member associations.” There have been some variations in the use of VAR in different competitions and national leagues, but Collina said there should be a uniform approach. “Another responsibility of FIFA’s is to have the laws of the game implemented all over the world in the same way, there cannot be different implementation of the laws of the game in different continents or different countries. Our responsibility is to ensure that football is played in the same way all over the world. Can you imagine in international competition played by teams who are used to having different interpretations of the laws of the game in their domestic competition? Saying that VAR should be used in the same way all over the world is something obvious. Of course there can be some small differences, but the general implementation should be the same. It is FIFA and IFAB’s responsibility to have the game played the same way across the world, for the benefit of those who are playing,” he said. Speaking generally, Collina said FIFA wanted to avoid situations where players in an international tournament faced surprise decisions. “If something is written in the laws of the game, it has to be implemented everywhere, otherwise can you imagine the surprise of someone who is penalised for something in an international game that he is not penalised for at home? Maybe they would not be aware of what they can do? If something in the laws of the game doesn’t work, then it is discussed and eventually changed by IFAB. 

Source: Reuters

World Cup referee Igna: "I wanted to give Platini a lesson in Mexico'86"

Ioan Igna was the only Romanian referee who participated in all possible competitions at that time: World Cup, Euro, Olympic Games, World Youth Championship, European Youth Championship, European Champions Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup, UEFA Cup. In spite of these achievements, he is "only" number 2 in the all-time Romanian refereeing, after three-time World Cup referee Nicolae Rainea (1974, 1978, 1982). "I was never in a competition with Rainea. It was impossible, because we were not the same age". As a change of generations, Igna was Rainea's assistant referee at the 1983 European Champions Cup final. 34 years after his Mexico’86 World Cup, Ioan Igna is still the last referee from Romania to participate in the most important football competition. 
"I started my international career with the U-18 Euro in 1980, where I did the opener and then I was an assistant in the final. Then FIFA selected me for the 1981 World Youth Championship in Australia. Here, I was appointed to the Australia - England match. It was played in Sydney, while the Queen of England was in town and we were instructed on the day of the match, for about an hour or two, how to bow in case the Queen comes to the match, but she didn't arrive". In 1986, Igna, already 46 years old, was selected for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, where he refereed two matches, including the quarter-final France - Brazil. "After I refereed a very difficult match in the group stage, Germany - Scotland, Harry Cavan (NIR) and Thomas Wharton (SCO), who were in charge of the referees, asked me 'if you were to receive a bigger match, who would you like to work with as assistants?' I told them that I would prefer to have Lajos Nemeth from Hungary and Vojtech Christov from Czechoslovakia with me, and they seemed very surprised… until I told them why: the Czech spoke some Hungarian, and so did I, so it would be easier for us to understand each during the match. At that time, FIFA did not have an official language for referees. Some referees were speaking English, some French and others German. At that moment, I did not know why they asked me that, but then I found out that I was being considered for Brazil - France, in case the two teams were going to win in the Round of 16. Then, just a short time before the match, they called me again, but this time to question me in a very harsh tone. A few days before the match, after I found out that I was going to referee Brazil - France, we played football, that's what we referees used to do, and Sepp Blatter's son (FIFA General Secretary at the time) came to those games and always wanted to play with me on the team. He also brought along a friend, who was a FIFA statistician. I asked him which players are in danger of being suspended if they would get a yellow card. He told the bosses what I asked him and I was immediately called to a meeting. I told them that the stadiums are full because people come to see Platini, Tigana, Maradona, Zico, Careca, Socrates and I did not want to make a mistake by easily giving a yellow card to such a player and take him out of the next match. They started laughing and their faces relaxed. They accepted my argument. Brazil lost the match and Brazilian Joao Havelange was the FIFA president. I was told that he watched the full match again that evening and then told others: ‘Igna never made a mistake against Brazil’. Do you know what mark I got from FIFA for that match? 9.1, the highest mark in the entire tournament, and the game was declared the most beautiful match in that World Cup. It was the pinnacle of my career as a referee. On penalties, the Frenchman Bellone hit the crossbar, the ball hit the goalkeeper Carlos in the back and entered the goal. Nothing was specified in the laws, so I awarded the goal. FIFA agreed with me and introduced the "Igna rule". In addition to that legendary Brazil - France, at the '86 World Cup I refereed another game that will remain in the history of football, Germany – Scotland, which meant the duel between Franz Beckenbauer and Alex Ferguson". Why Igna didn't referee the final if the FIFA bosses were so happy? "Because there was a rule that a referee can't lead the same team twice in a World Cup. In addition, my bad luck was that Steaua Bucharest won the Champions Cup. Havelange told me in Mexico that I was the first candidate to get the Intercontinental Cup in Tokyo, but then I became not eligible because one of the teams was Steaua from Romania". Igna’s Euro 1988 was more controversial. "There were many discussions after the Germany - Netherlands semi-final, when I awarded that penalty to Van Basten, but I was criticized for nothing. It was a textbook penalty. I remember that I was injured that year and went to Euro '88 not fully recovered, but I did it out of pride, because it was the only competition I was missing from my record. Two years later, I missed the 1990 Coppa del Mondo because I turned 50, the age limit at that time, just 4 days before the start of the tournament". 
At the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, during the Brazil - France match, Igna made a gesture that shocked the entire planet: he confronted Platini, the French star who was a triple holder of Ballon d’Or. Igna himself recounts: "Before the match, Platini made comments about the referees appointed to the match, saying that it is not possible to have an unknown referee because he never heard about Igna. It bothered me, so I decided to respond to him on the field. After scoring the goal that equalized the score, 1-1, I asked who scored, Platini raised his hand, but I pretended that I did not know him and made him turn around, to see his number in order to write down the scorer's number. ‘How come you don't know? Everyone knows I’m number10’, he replied, irritated, but he had to turn around, although I obviously knew he was the number 10 of France. I just wanted to give him a lesson for what he had said before the game. I also had another discussion with him later in that game, when I applied the advantage. He asked for a penalty, but I said that it wasn't a penalty since Bellone had been fouled outside the penalty area. I applied the advantage and could not penalize the original foul, as it is now. Bellone had stepped on an ice pack (the game was played at 12 noon, with 53 Celsius degrees on the ground) and lost his balance".

Ioan Igna 
- FIFA World Cup Quarter-final 1986: France – Brazil 
- UEFA Euro Semi-final 1988: Germany – Netherlands 
- UEFA Cup Final 1987: Dundee United – IFK Goteborg 
- Olympic Games 1984: Los Angeles 
- FIFA World Youth Championship 1981: Australia 
- UEFA U-18 Euro 1980: Germany 
- UEFA Champions Cup Final 1983 (as assistant referee) 
- FIFA Referee from 1976 to 1990 
- 209 games in the First Division 

Source: GSP

Monzul is first woman to referee Ukrainian Cup final

Kateryna Monzul will become the first female to take charge of the Ukrainian Cup final when Dynamo Kiev face Vorskla Poltava, said the Ukrainian Football Association. 
Monzul, 39, was the first woman to referee a Ukrainian Premier League match when she took charge of Chornomorets Odesa against Volyn Lutsk in 2016. She refereed the opening match abd the final of the 2015 Women’s World Cup between the United States and Japan, as well as matches at the 2019 tournament including a quarter-final. Monzul’s two assistants and the fourth official in Kharkiv will also be women. In 2012 Natalya Rachynska became the first female assistant referee to officiate in the Ukrainian Cup final. 
This year’s showpiece was to be held on May 13 in Ternopil, but was postponed to July 8 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and first moved to Lviv before being switched to Kharkiv. The winners qualify for the Europa League group stage. 

Source: Reuters

Referee Strombergsson: “I need to find a new employer”

A Swedish referee suspended for making racist remarks against Guinea international goalkeeper Aly Keita says his career is 'effectively' over. Speaking to a Swedish newspaper, Martin Strombergsson regretted remarks made to Keita in a top-flight match last year. Ostersunds goalkeeper Keita said last month the referee told him "to shut up and go back into his goal so bananas could be thrown at him." 
"I need to find a new employer in the future," said the 43-year-old official. This was the FIFA referee's response to the fact that he has been suspended for the rest of the season, which is only six weeks old. He is yet to officially hear whether his career as a referee is over but his suspension lasts until the end of his current contract. Strombergsson's punishment was announced on Friday by the referee's committee of the Swedish Football Federation (SVFF). "Martin Strombergsson insists that he had no racist intentions with what he said," noted Peter Ekstrom, chairman of the committee. "We have no reason to doubt this, but still consider it to be a very inappropriate statement, and it must be obvious that it can be perceived as offensive." The decision was backed by Hakan Sjotrand, the SVFF's Secretary General. "I completely share the Judiciary Committee's view on the matter," he said. "What has happened is very serious, and is contrary to the values of Swedish football - regardless of the intentions Strombergsson had. "It feels good that we have thoroughly investigated the incident and talked to everyone involved. It makes us feel secure in our judgment. It is good and important that Aly Keita told about his experience. We must dare to talk about these issues in Swedish football." Osterunds have told BBC Sport Africa that the club and Keita have decided to say no more on the issue. 

Source: BBC

Advanced offside technology

After the first test of semi-automated offside technology at the FIFA Club World Cup in December 2019 in Qatar, FIFA organised another demonstration of an advanced offside technology. Due to the current travel restrictions, FIFA invited the members of the Working Group for Innovation Excellence to an online video conference, which was the third showcase event on the road map to 2022/23. After the successful implementation of the video assistant referee (VAR) system following its incorporation into the Laws of the Game in March 2018, FIFA is aiming to further improve VAR technology at all levels of the game. In particular the development of a semi-automated offside technology should provide the VAR with additional and more accurate information to assist the decision making process of the referee and to make the review process as efficient as possible. 
On 22 June, FIFA organised a remote demonstration of advanced offside technology, hosted by one of the technology providers, for the Working Group for Innovation Excellence. One of several competing technology providers presented a semi-automated offside technology system to 50 participants from all over the world. The group was given the opportunity to learn about the current development status of the technology and to ask detailed questions. The technology provider, which already utilises a FIFA certified virtual offside line (VOL) system, demonstrated several aspects of the development process and the involved technologies, with the goal being to deliver a semi-automated offside decision within the shortest possible delay, so referees on the pitch can quickly be assisted in relevant situations. One of the main challenges in the development of an advanced offside technology is the accurate and automated detection of the kick-point. The technology provider informed the group about possible solutions like tracking data from sensor technology or video data from camera systems. Furthermore, a system has to correctly identify which body part places a player onside or offside. Accuracy tests have shown that human operators tend to pick different body parts for offside lines. Strides have been made in that area as well, with the automated system presented learning to correctly model a player's skeleton. In the future, the developed algorithms of the system should be able to automatically identify which body part placed the player offside and by what distance. "The goal is to develop a supportive tool similar to goal-line technology: Not designed to make the decision, but to provide evidence instantly to the referees", was the clear message of the meeting. FIFA and the International Football Association Board (IFAB) have always maintained that the final decision will remain with the referee, with technology being introduced to provide the officials with the best support available. Another major consideration for FIFA and the stakeholders is how to best present those situations to the fans inside the stadium and in front of the television. “These events are a very good opportunity for the FIFA Working Group to better understand the complexity and the development status of new technologies and provide a platform to discuss new innovations in football directly with the industry," said FIFA Director of Football Technology & Innovation Johannes Holzmüller. The next meeting of the FIFA Working Group is planned for the beginning of July and more tests and demonstrations are scheduled for the second half of this year. 

Source: FIFA

Cunha: “No income for Uruguayan referees”

In an interview with the sport program “Sport 890”, the Uruguayan international referee Andres Cunha questioned the situation of the referees with respect to employment insurance.
"The AUF sent us employment insurance, but we could not use it because it does not correspond to us. There were people who had to go out to work longer hours because the family income was not enough. We have to be at the same physical level as the players; however, family income was difficult and referees, under these conditions, cannot prepare in the same way. Referees earn the same as a player on the minimum wage. The internationals a little more. We must try to return as soon as possible for the comrades. We have taken steps to get out of employment insurance. The situation is dramatic. The AUF president told us that it is still not possible, that they have to make the tests first. Apart from the physical issue, we must begin to receive wages. They told us that the international and first division referees will come out of insurance, but the others will not. So the problem will continue. I spoke to many referees and we are all concerned. We await confirmation of the date of return. We were excited when the experts said that we could work physically outside. We continue to training on the street. We told the AUF that it is time to look forward, to get back as soon as possible. We had to go from place to place to train. We could not settle in a specific one. We are going back to the Celeste Complex, but we cannot use the open fields or the gym. It is their order. They don't let us. We do not live in a bubble. We are a part of soccer and there are basic things that we must have”, said Cunha. 

Source: Tenfield

Is the electronic whistle the future of refereeing?

More than 140 years after it made its debut, in English soccer, the whistle is the most recognizable sound in sports activities. But in the age of coronavirus, the whistle might face an existential problem, or, at the very least, a severe rethinking. To use virtually any whistle requires a deep breath after which a pressured burst of droplet-filled air - issues that, throughout a pandemic, deeply concern medical specialists. Is there a greater approach? That is what folks asked Ron Foxcroft.
Foxcroft, a former NCAA and Olympic basketball official, is the most trusted identity in North America in terms of whistles. His firm, Fox 40, sells about 15,000 a day - largely the so-called pealess whistle, which accounts for the bulk of his enterprise. About a decade in the past, Fox 40 additionally started making and advertising an electronic whistle. It operates with the push of a button and its tones could be adjusted by a swap on the facet. The present variations on the market produce sounds that vary from 96 to 120 decibels (or from the sound of a garden mower to that of an ambulance siren). It is that this model that in current months has come to dominate Foxcroft’s conversations, emails and textual content messages. “There’s two questions,” Foxcroft mentioned of the inquiries he has acquired in the previous few months. “No. 1: ‘Ron, you’re a referee. Tell us what you think of the electronic whistle.’ No. 2: ‘We’d like to experiment with the electronic whistle. Can you send us some?’” 
Fox 40’s model is one of a handful of fashions obtainable; Windsor and iSport, amongst others, make their very own variations. But Fox 40’s place in the business means it has seen a surge in each inquiries and orders. Before mid-April, the Canadian firm’s largest order for digital whistles had come from a European practice firm, which purchased 3,000 for its workers. Since May 1, Foxcroft estimated, the firm had acquired orders for about 50,000 extra. Most are headed to referees in various sports. While the push-button whistle, which seems a bit like a small flashlight, actually addresses some virus fears, head-to-head comparisons with the sounds of extra conventional whistles can sometimes be unsatisfying. And in interviews over the previous a number of weeks, veteran referees raised extra sensible issues. “Are they weatherproof? Do they work in the snow? Do they work in the rain? You know, those sorts of things,” mentioned Steve Shaw, the nationwide coordinator of university soccer, who tried out Fox’s digital whistle in May. “And do we have to carry a spare battery around with us?” But the toughest part in utilizing the new whistle is simply that: utilizing it. “We have that momentary time lag between taking your whistle from your hand to your mouth, and that little instance sometimes can save you from blowing an inadvertent whistle,” Shaw mentioned. “And this has none of that kind of delay built into it because it’s right there in your hands. And right there, your thumb is on the button. So we’d have to be really patient.” 

Source: 24NewsOrder