~~ Very, very interesting proposal….. This will definitely raise a few eyebrows around the Premier League, although you can just picture Sepp reaching for the phone over at FIFA headquarters.
Keith Hackett, who introduced the microphones worn by referees and their assistants, has called on the Football Association to bring forward a proposal to record match officials’ conversations.
The former general manager of Premier League referees has spoken out in the wake of Chelsea’s allegations that Mark Clattenburg racially abused the midfielder Mikel John Obi during their 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Stamford Bridge last Sunday. Clattenburg denies the allegations that prompted Sir Alex Ferguson to speak out in the referee’s defence on Friday.
The FA say it is too soon following that incident to consider how they will address the issue with the International Football Association Board, the body that rules on law changes. However, if the game’s various stakeholders wish to take up the issue in the future the FA would be open to it.
Hackett told the Observer: “The FA are members of the Ifab, so could bring forward a proposal to permit the recording of the conversations between players and officials during a game.”
More from Keith Hackett On His ‘Ref Link’ Proposal after the Jump……..
Hackett would also allow fans and match commentators to hear those conversations. “I would have no problems with fans having the ability to purchase a “Ref! Link” to listen in to what the match officials are saying,” he said. “I would like to see a referee-coach at the ground able to listen in to the team of officials. And given what has happened in the past few days and, with no knee jerk reaction, I would like to see conversations between the match officials for the full duration of the game recorded.”
The Ref! Link system is used in rugby union and allows spectators to overhear officials discussing their decisions with players during a match. Hackett introduced this system when he ran the Professional Game Match Official Board, the body in charge of elite referees, so that a referees’ coach at Premier League matches could listen in to match officials’ conversations. That was in 2006 but, according to Hackett, Fifa issued a directive that the system should not be used.
Fifa, however, deny any such ruling was ever issued, stating that this would be a matter only for Ifab. The world body’s stance is that there were informal discussions about whether officials’ match conversations might be relayed to supporters.
The FA could lead the way, however. Alex Horne, the FA’s general secretary, is on the eight-member Ifab board, along with his Scotland, Wales and Ireland counterparts. Fifa take up the other four places, with six members required to be in agreement to make any changes to the laws.