During the preparation for the 2021-2022 season, various national and international football clubs have taken up residence in the Parkhotel in Horst (the Netherlands) for a training camp. During the KAA Gent (BE)– RFC Seraign (BE) match, we used the AXIWI headsets.
I am active in the 2nd division in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to use a headset at this level. As an arbitration team, we quickly discovered that working with a headset only brings benefits.
During the match, besides flag signals and the beeping of the beep flag, you hardly have moments to communicate with your assistants, so you have to judge decisions yourself. For example, the assistant referee is in a better position and judges a duel differently. But this is outside his working area and can’t support. With four extra eyes in the field that helps you, you are more confident as a referee, increasing correct decisions. For example, an offside player gets the ball, but an opponent is still playing it on the way. Often the assistant referee can’t see this, and a flag signal for offside follows.
If the referee can communicate this in time via the headset, the assistant referee helps the assistant referee make a correct decision, also, with violations on the edge of the penalty area. The protocol without a headset is that the assistant continues to go to the goal line, in the event of a violation in the 16-meter area. However, as a referee, you are often too focused that you quickly make your own decision and sometimes have to go to the assistant referee afterwards because he has found that the violation was made just outside or just inside the penalty area. You can avoid this kind of confusion through headset communication. The level of the players and the matches has increased a lot over the years. If referees were helped in their position by these kinds of helpful communication tools, more correct decisions would be made, and the game would be fairer as a result.