New gadget to assist football referees

Computer company Kinetical develops a gadget called ‘manager’ to assist football referees record fouls, yellow cards, red cards, and goals.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Stuck for a holiday present for your favourite referee? How about this - all the way from Catalonia in Spain - an electronic organiser known as the 'referee's manager'? Certainly, the officials who've used it have given it their wholehearted approval and it's now set to be used on a wider basis. All will be explained... Barcelona captain Luis Enrique signs in, followed by his coach, former Dutch World Cup star and manager, Frank Riijkaard. Then into referee Jesus Tellez Sanchez's belt-bag and we're away.... Referee's manager But what is this new gadget, known as the 'referee's manager'? Well, in short, it's an electronic organiser designed with the help of the man-in-the-middle with the aim of making his sometimes difficult job simpler. Let Senor Tellez Sanchez, who used it in a Catalunya Cup match between Barcelona and Espanyol, explains. "It's a machine that contains a chronometre and by starting it at the beginning of a match, whatever incident occurs from then on you can record with just a click: fouls, yellow cards, red cards, goals. And you can record that information extremely quickly and it's always up to date and to hand," said referee Jesus Tellez Sanchez So, apart from the practical aspect, how does the "manager" help referees? Does it eliminate mistakes, for example? "Oh, yes, without a doubt. It helps me avoid errors which I have committed in the past. On some occasions, I have given a second yellow card to a player, not realised he'd already been booked and he stayed on the pitch - that is a serious mistake. Well, with this gadget, that just can't happen because the machine will tell me the player has to go," said referee Jesus Tellez Sanchez Kinetical The 'manager' was developed by computer company Kinetical. Chief Executive Gerardo Macias seems highly satisfied with the reception his product has received from its target consumers. But, as he explains, it couldn't have been any other way since they helped design it. "Referees love this product, well, it's not just that but they designed it with us. We worked for a whole year with the help of the Catalan FA, with referees at different levels in order to obtain the ideal product for all of them. They designed the item themselves and all we did was develop the programmes," said Gerardo Macias, CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Kinetical Match report Another referee who has had match practice with the organiser is Xavier Moreno Delgado. He, too, is a fan, pointing out one of its greatest benefits - both for officials and players. "Well, the best thing is when you finish the game, you put the organiser next to the printer, press 'print', and there you have it - the official report. If there have been any unusual incidents you can add those via a keyboard but if it's been a normal game, you have your official report immediately and that's of great benefit to both officials and players," said referee Xavier Moreno Delgado. The experimental use of the organiser is set to expand with referees in the whole of Spain and in the Netherlands set to give it a go. And other sports are set to benefit - Kinetical have plans to unleash the 'manager' - or variations of it - on handball and basketball. The times, in sport, as in so many things, they are a changing - so, could this mean the end for the referee's notebook? If Kinetical - and the referees of Catalonia - are anything to go by, the answer is, indeed, an emphatic 'yes'. (AP)