REFEREES in Jersey could be allowed to wear body cameras as soon as next season if a trial among English grassroots referees is deemed a success in reducing the levels of abuse officials receive.
Jersey Football Association chief executive David Kennedy said that while there were ‘very few misconduct cases’ in Jersey compared to the UK, the organisation was ‘not complacent’.
The Football Association confirmed recently that a trial of bodycam technology — a first in world football — would be conducted across four regional adult leagues in the UK this season after being authorised by the law-making body, the International Football Association Board.
The FA is to examine the evidence collected during the trial and, if judged a success, will roll out the technology across further grassroots leagues next season. Footage captured on the camera can be used as evidence in a disciplinary hearing if required.
Harry Walker, referee development co-ordinator at the Jersey Football Association, said that although the Jersey FA was not selected as part of the body-worn camera trial, he hoped that the Island could soon see cameras on local referees.
‘Once the trial is complete, I hope that the FA will introduce body cameras and allow referees to wear them for the games they officiate in,’ he said.
However, David Kennedy, chief executive of the JFA, admitted that he thought referees’ opinions on the use of bodycams would be mixed.
‘We will wait to see what the feedback from the pilot project looks like before making any decisions on the use of bodycams,’ he said. ‘I would imagine there will be some officials who would be in favour of this approach while others wouldn’t.’
Mr Kennedy said the JFA had ‘invested significantly in a number of measures in recent seasons to create the best possible environment’.