AN EFFECTIVE PROPOSAL FOR A BETTER FOOTBALL
A VIRTUS LANCIANO PROJECT FOR THE ADOPTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL SUPPORT
Since 1858, by the time that the role of the referee has been introduced, the system football has constantly tried to support the referee, improving the conditions of the control of the game.
This has determined, in the course of time and with the evolution of the game and the improvement of the athletic qualities of players, a continuous evolution of the regulation and an increasing number of assistants supporting the referee. As a matter of fact, it has been necessary a transition from the traditional referee assistants, to the introduction of the fourth official, till the recent introduction of two additional assistant referees, positioned behind the goal lines, where the role of the referee has always remained the central figure of the direction of the match; this because more eyes, from different point of views, can better evaluate the most complicated situations. Therefore, the scope of this project is precisely to continue in this direction, providing a more and more precise, scientific and objective support to the referee, remaining the central and irreplaceable figure in the decision making process, replacing the actual two additional assistant referees, positioned behind the goal line, with the two more advanced and better equipped “tribune assistants” which the project presented below describes in detail for its purpose and characteristics.
The scope of the project is to provide a technological support to referees in all those circumstances, crucial in determining the final result, which in some cases (velocity of the action, position of the referee, distance from the action, eyesight availability, etc.) are characterized by inexact referee evaluations.
In all the episodes, which could compromise the final result of the match, the referee will have the collaboration of two “tribune assistants” (former referees) operating from the box seats of the stadium: Following the match through the screen and with a system able to provide images from all the angles, the two tribune assistants will be able to, in a short time (not exceeding 20 seconds), to inform the referee on what actually took place on the pitch.
Since many years the issue of providing technological support to the referees is a debated, fascinating topic, involving either football fans and professionals; lately we are facing a rising in the attention about this topic, not only on social networks and on main national newspapers but it is involving the whole football community; this shows a shift in the culture, allowing the adoption of technology and innovation, necessary in order to improve the referee accuracy and make his decisions less debatable.
Everyone (media, athletes, coaches and managers), by now, seem to agree in principle on requiring support, helping the referee in the most important and complicated decisions:
Award a penalty kick;
Awarding a goal (determine when the ball has completely crossed the goal line, determine if the scorer is in an offside position, determine other irregularities during the action, etc.);
Sending off a player (serious foul play, violent conduct, offensive, insulting or abusive language or gestures, deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, etc. )
This involves decisions on crucial circumstances which could change the final result of the match; in these cases, and in these only, the referee would benefit of immediate support of two external collaborators, following the match through a video system allowing them to watch every action from multiple angles.
ROLE OF THE TRIBUNE ASSISTANTS
The assistants will watch the match through multiple screens in a fully equipped control room, positioned in a special section of the stadium similar to the press box (in this way the assistants will be able to decide without any external influence from the staff of the clubs or the players). These new professionals will be selected among the former referees, the selection will be based on their past experience in directing matches and they will be listed in a dedicated register.
Certainly the role of the tribune assistants will be just to assist the referee and their evaluations (communicated through the audio equipment already in use among the regular support staff) will provide to the referee only objective facts, useful to determine the right final decision, without calling into question the central role of the referee in the decision making process.
In case of a complex situation (and then disagreement of evaluation among the two tribune assistants) in determining OBJECTIVELY what happened, the two assistants will inform the referee about the inability to reach a scientific evaluation.
A video technician will work closely with the two assistants in order to select in real-time the images to show on the screen; in this way the images displayed to the assistants will be independent from the selection of the TV broadcast and the assistants will be able to work selecting different point of views, in absolute independence and autonomy from what showed on TV. Therefore, through the use of technical support, there will be the chance to watch the slow-motion of the episodes subject of evaluation, from any point of view, facilitating the whole procedure of evaluation by the assistants.
As already said, the communication among the assistants and the referee will be easily feasible with the help of the same technology used already bythe referee, referee assistants (linesmen) and the fourth official.