Morning conference, addressing "Improvement of the Football Experience on the Pitch"
We had the pleasure earlier this month to participate in the 2nd FIFA Quality Programme Workshop in Zurich, Switzerland. This was our first attendance since FIFA listed Yapalong (Nautic Devices) as an inspected communication systems provider. We didn't go alone, either! Referee Store, our partner from the United States, joined us in attendance.
FIFA recently introduced VAR (Video-Assisted Referee) technology into the sport with trails starting in 2016. The aim of this has been to provide a way for "clear and obvious errors" and "serious missed incidents" to be corrected. While it is now widely used in most major cups to varying degrees, it has been met with mixed opinions and subject to criticism (check out this informative VAR article for more info), and not every country has shown interest in adopting the technology, including Canada. During the conference, FIFA officials announced a decision to separate Referee Communication from VAR in an effort to make things less complicated while the technology continues to develop.
Afternoon conference, addressing "Refereeing Technology", referring to Referee Communication and VAR (Video-Assisted Referee)
After the announcement that Referee Communication would be separate from VAR, FIFA elaborated more on the current equipment they use. During the U-20 World Cup in 2017, where they used the Vokkero communication system, they remarked that the system was "unreliable", including issues such as static and dropped signals as major concerns. While FIFA previously assessed that "changing Ref Comm suppliers is too risky" in 2018, with the decision to isolate Referee Communications as its own category, there will be an opportunity for Yapalong to enter the picture now! Be sure to keep an eye out for Yapalong on the field and at Zurich next year!