As from next week, Football Victoria will be rolling out an Australian-first technology scheme to allow soccer referees to blow the whistle on abuse.
All first-year referees will be given access to technology that can register offensive or violent behaviour, as well as track their mental and physical wellbeing.
This comes as Football Victoria has taken a stand against referee abuse, from both on and off the field (not dissimilar to the AFL and their Behavioural Awareness Officers initiative).
A smartphone app will allow referees to formulate a post-match analysis that will detail how the teams behaved, as well as being able to measure their own performance.
It will feed into a statewide register that is being monitored by the game’s governing body. Action will then be taken when it is deemed that the behaviour is of an anti-social manner.
Football Victoria and Melbourne-based technology business RefLive have teamed up in an attempt to give an opportunity to those who need it most.
At least 40% of referees and umpires throw their whistles away every season. Data analytics will be used to improve retention and performance.
Football Victoria referee manager Luke Brennan explained that referee turnover is “one of the biggest issues in football’’ and he is hopeful that this new system can swing the tide and help referees feel more comfortable.
“This could be rolled out to many more refs in other sports.’’
“It allows us to have real-time data to proactively support first-year referees who are the group most likely to leave due to a negative experience.’’