The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) might be all the talk these days but another officiating addition could revolutionize the way we watch football.
Indeed, sports lovers watching the NFL or the NBA play-offs or rugby union will be familiar with referees wearing microphones, with their decisions and conversations being broadcast on the coverage. It’s nothing new.
It’s certainly not new ground in Australia. It’s already happened in the AFL and both rugby codes, while to an extent it happens in cricket – with the third umpire.
But it would be ground-breaking for football, even though the refs already wear mics to communicate with their assistants and the fourth official. Those conversations are not for public consumption.
However, if the refs were mic’d up, would it add to the coverage?
There’s no doubt football fans regularly disagree with the referee’s decision. Thus the insight into referees’ decision-making processes afforded by the mics would be valuable and an opportunity for justification.
Fans have the option to buy the ‘Ref Link’ when watching rugby union in the UK for the extra insight they provide.