A-League referees to wear microphones
The Australian A-League game between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC on Friday will see referees miked up and their decisions broadcast as part of live television coverage.
The initiative will extend to other games in the A-League 2014 Finals Series and the A-League Grand Final involving sides such as Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney Wanderers, Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United.
It is the first time that referees have been miked up for this purpose in professional football although the practice has been widely used in both rugby union and rugby league.
“Broadcasting is constantly evolving to give TV viewers an increasing insight into live sport and we’re excited to work with Fox Sports to take football fans closer than they have ever been with an extra microphone on the field of play,” Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop said.
“We believe the extra microphone is a significant step forward and gives fans a greater insight into what’s happening on the pitch.
“Sports fans around the world are privileged to be able to hear the thoughts of the referees and we’re pleased A-League fans will be able to experience this as we move into a thrilling Finals Series.”
Fox Sports CEO, Patrick Delany, welcomed the change in order for football to come in line with other sports played in Australia which already involves referees being miked up.
He said: “This is a massive development for football in Australia and we applaud the FFA for working with us to bring this innovation to life.
“Fans of other codes are now accustomed to hearing the reasoning for key decisions made during matches directly from the referee. Now football fans can experience that same level of insight throughout the A-League Finals Series.”
Premier League referees in England wear microphones for the purpose of communicating with his assistants although their conversations are not broadcast publicly.