EXCLUSIVE: Watch the first video of bodycams used by football referees

Watch the first video of bodycams used by football referees with the trial of technology set to be carried out in grassroots games with hopes of improved behaviour and respect towards officials

  • The first footage of referee bodycams has been revealed ahead of its official trial 
  • It is hoped the technology will improve behaviour and respect towards referees 

Footage of bodycams used by football referees has been revealed for the first time ahead of the technology’s three-month trial in the grassroots game.

The trial – which will be the first of its kind in the world – is being carried out to determine if bodycams improve behaviour and respect towards officials, with referees set to wear them in lower league games in Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Worcester and Essex. 

The footage can also be used as evidence in a disciplinary hearing if required – which may change the way incidents on the pitch are handled. 

Around 100 referees are set to use the technology – approved by the International Football Association Board [IFAB] and the FA – at grassroots matches across the next three months with a view to rolling it out across further leagues at a higher level in the 2023-24 season. 

Referees who wear the bodycams – made by Reveal Media – are set to receive the support, education and training required to use them effectively in approved fixtures.

Footage from referee bodycams that are set to be trialed in football has been revealed

The technology is being trialled to determine if it results in better behaviour towards officials  

The bodycams will be worn by referees in grassroots games across the next three months

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: ‘Referees are the lifeblood of our game and we thank the IFAB for their support in allowing us to undertake this new grassroots bodycam trial, the first of its nature globally.

‘We’ve listened to feedback from the referee community, and we hope this trial will have a positive impact on the behaviour towards them – so that ultimately they can enjoy officiating in a safe and inclusive environment.’ 

Daniel Meeson, FA head of refereeing – technical and development, added: ‘We care passionately about the welfare and support for our referees in England, and our national game simply could not operate without them. 

‘Across all levels of our game, we have some of the best referees in the world – many of whom have dedicated their lives to the refereeing – and they deserve our utmost respect and thanks.

‘So we’re excited to explore how bodycams can be used in grassroots refereeing so that we can better understand how they could help affect the behaviour of players and coaches towards them.’

The FA said it hoped referees would enjoy officiating in a safer environment with cameras

CEO of Reveal Media, Alasdair Field said the technology was kickstarted after he himself was targeted for abuse when he refereed at a children’s match.

‘We are incredibly proud to have been selected by the FA as their technology partner for this grassroots football trial,’ he said. 

‘I experienced the issue of abuse directed towards officials personally when I refereed for under 10s football for a couple of years and ultimately the amount of abuse I received destroyed the enjoyment and led me to giving up. 

‘Understanding that this was a rampant problem led to us adapting our camera for the requirements of match play as I could envision our front-facing screen technology having real potential to de-escalate situations and even deter them from happening. 

‘We are excited for the upcoming trial and look forward to playing our part in the support of the referee community and to help revive the joy of officiating’.

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