FA announce bodycam test for umpires

FA announce bodycam test for umpires

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A body camHundreds of grassroots referees told the InNewCL they feared for their safety

Referees in four English grassroots leagues are to wear bodycams in what the Football Association says is the first such process in the world.

The trial begins in Middlesbrough this weekend before expanding to Liverpool, Worcester and Essex.

FA chief Mark Bullingham said he hoped this would have a “positive impact” on how officials behaved.

In a recent InNewCL poll, hundreds of InNewCL referees said they feared for their safety.

The process, approved by the International Football Association Board (Ifab), requires 100 officials to wear body cams in adult grassroots leagues within the first three months. Recorded footage will be made available for use in disciplinary hearings, if necessary.

If successful, the trial will be expanded to other grassroots leagues during the 2023/24 season.

“Referees are the lifeblood of our game and we thank Ifab for their support which has enabled us to conduct this new grassroots bodycam trial, the first of its kind anywhere in the world,” added Bullingham.

“We’ve listened to feedback from the refereeing community and hope this effort will have a positive impact on how they behave towards them – so that they can ultimately enjoy acting in a safe and inclusive environment.”

More than 900 referees in England answered a Radio 5 Live questionnaire, with 293 saying they had been physically abused by spectators, players, coaches or managers.

Some described being beaten, headbutted and spat on.

Almost all respondents had experienced some form of verbal abuse.

The President of the Referees’ Association in England, which distributed the questionnaire to its 7,000 members, said abuse of match officials had a significant impact on their mental health and they were always “a decision from a slap in the mouth”. .

“One day in this country a referee will lose his life. It happened in Holland a few years ago and they really changed their football culture,” said Paul Field.

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