Blog 3

CEO Blog 17-18

Issue 3

This week features Video Assistant Referees, grassroots 11v11 on the radio and digital engagement.

Video assistant referee

Video Assistant Referees in football

Sky Sports were out in force last week at St George’s Park (SGP) featuring the testing of the imminent Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system: 

Football has been considered a little behind the curve in terms of adopting video coverage to seek to eliminate obvious errors. Cricket, Rugby Union and Tennis have all brought this in, and generally it has not adversely affected the spectator experience. 

Football is a little different to those sports, so the main desire is to see obvious errors eliminated but without slowing down play too much.

The system was being tested by Premier League match officials last week at a youth tournament at SGP, without the scrutiny of a live audience. The official looking at the video is able to view the multiple screens and offer clarity to the on field officials about key match incidents- goals, penalties, sending offs and mistaken identity only. What is a little surprising is that there is also a pitch side ‘review area’ for the on field officials to have a look at what the video referee has seen.

I have concerns that this will slow the game down- 2.5 minutes is a long time- and also question whether the on field official will see anything different from the footage that the video ref hasn’t already seen, possibly several times.

The framing of Sky’s piece, focussing on pressure on the match officials, indicates that the on field referee and assistants may be facing even more scrutiny with VAR, rather than using technology to take some of the pressure off them. 

On my radio

We are working to raise the profile of grassroots football by partnering with Cambridge 105 Radio. As a community radio station, they are keen to feature the national game at grassroots level, and we’re delighted to be able to add this to our marketing and communications work. Don’t worry if you’re further afield than Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, you’ll be able to hear the coverage via the internet anywhere.

Focussing on raising the profile of adult 11v11 initially, Cambridge 105 Radio will help to build on our weekly Cambridgeshire County League podcast by providing an outlet for clubs to phone in their match reports and positive stories from their game. There will also be the opportunity for Cambridge 105 reporters to interview players and managers, to add the Sky Sports/ Match of the Day feel to local football.

The process is simple:

  • Call the Cambridge 105 Radio Newsline on 07919 070490 (standard UK mobile phone number)
  • Wait for the call to go to voicemail
  • Give your name, club and game/ story featured
  • Provide a headline if you can- for example x FC come back from 2 down to win top of the table clash
  • Record the brief match report/ story
  • End call

Cambridge 105 will then look to use this content on the radio, and we’ll also look to add this to a longer form of our County League round up.

I can’t wait to hear your reports to help make adult 11v11 exciting and compelling for our County League clubs!
Website screen shots

Digital Engagement

Football in no different from all other sectors in that it relies heavily on IT and digital engagement to better understand and communicate with the game’s multiple participants and stakeholders.

There is good progress being made. Following on from the Whole Game System which has shifted club affiliation, player registration and FA discipline online, there will be more ways for The FA and County FA’s to engage with our customers and consumers.

Full Time, the nation’s leading competition management tool, is being re-launched to be fully mobile, meaning players, managers and spectators can all see all match and league information on their phones and tablets.

County FA websites are also being re-launched, and our own is in the first group of counties ready for re-launch very soon.

It will be great to hear any views once we go live. 


Until next time