World Cup referees have praiseworthy for new communication system

All Referees are not against the new communication system introduced by world soccer's governing body FIFA to the 2006 World Cup starting Friday.

"It'll be helpful to take a mini microphone when the referees are officiating a game, since they can't see everything happening on the field," Vincent Mauro, a member of the Referee Committee of FIFA, told Xinhua during the Serbia and Montenegro team's training session here on Wednesday afternoon.

"With the new communication system, there will be more communications between referee and linesmen, and will aid to improve the standards of refereeing," added the former referee from the United States who worked for FIFA as an game observer at the tournament held in 12 cities of Germany.

As to other referees, Mario Van Der Ende from the Netherlands, also a member of FIFA's Referee Committee, said: "They are still happy about it."

The system, comprising an open microphone and an earphone, will allow the assistants and the fourth officials to communicate with the referee and vice versa, as well as to hear what is being said on the pitch.

Both of the refereeing officials yet worried about the potential problems of the system, however.

"The idea is good, but not all can keep working 100 percent," said Van Der Ende, who had officiated at the 1994 World Cup in the United States as well as the 1998 tournament at France.

"One of the most important things is to make sure there is no interference and that people can't listen into the conversations," added the Dutch.

"For everything that may help make the game better, FIFA will try on it," echoed Mauro.

It's the first time that microphone devices are used at World Cup matches. UEFA tested the system in last season's European club competitions, and most of them worked efficient to help the referee, the linesmen and the fourth official make easier judge on the field events with high accuracy.

Before coming to the innovation on the referee communication system, FIFA had decided last December that a smart-ball technology system, designed to rule out mistakes on goal-line decisions, needed more testing and would not be used at the 2006 World Cup.

Still, the video recording system, where decisions being made upon the video recording tapes, has not been accepted by FIFA's refereeing body, and Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, has stated that this system would practically "kill" refereeing and raise the length of the game to an indefinite time.

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online ---