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Technology aids development

OFC Referee Development Officer Mark Hester says while for OFC things like electronic scoreboards and communication kits are relatively new, on a global scale they’re technologies that have been around for some time.
“The electronic substitution boards have been around since 2000, communication kits have been around since 2006, but there’s obviously a high investment that’s required for those,” Hester says.
“For anybody that progresses to FIFA competitions these are the tools; they’re just like the whistle, the cards and the boots that they wear. So it’s important to give match officials the opportunity to practice with them.
“At the moment, primarily, we are training our World Cup candidates, particularly with the communications system because it’s not just something you can put on and use.
“It takes time to develop processes between the referee and the assistant referees so there’s no confusion, so each person knows what their role is at any particular time.”
Hester says the introduction of communication kits has been relatively smooth.
“Obviously for someone who uses it for the first time it’s still new and they take a little while but usually within one half of their first game they start to get used to it.”
At OFC competitions match officials have been fortunate to be able to include video in their match analysis, which Hester says is incredibly beneficial for development and improvement.
“We’re fortunate we’re able to use the footage from OFC TV which is of good quality. Generally my job the day after the games is to review the matches, take out key incidents and use that for debrief sessions with the referees,” he explains.
The debrief sessions are important for keeping the referees on track and addressing any issues as they arise, Hester explains.
“The ability for referees to see themselves is very important because they can see how it looks from the outside and not necessarily just how it feels from the inside.
“We look at major issues but we also look at trends that may be occurring in the tournament, so we can address them before they become a wider problem.”

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