Builders of the RefereePro smartphone app are satisfied with use of it during the first official match. An interview from the Dutch Referee Blog with Jaime Herrera, a former Fifa referee from Mexico who helped developing the digital referee signal system.
Read also the previous blog “Referee 2.0 uses smarphone app for goals and cards” about the referee smartphone app RefereePro on this blog. It includes a video about how it works.How did the referee prepare for the match?
Jaime Herrera: “We have been designing and working on the development of Referee Pro since a year ago and I, as a former FIFA referee, know how to use it since I helped to build it and I was supposed to be the referee on that match. Unfortunately, there was a last minute change (a day before the match) and the organasation had to train a referee that didn’t know how to use the app at all. He had a four hours training and we felt he was feeling confident when using the app, so Referee Pro decided to go ahead with him. He was already used to Android smartphones, so the training was quite easy. But in fact, any referee in the world can be trained in a couple of hours, it’s just a matter of getting used to it. It’s user friendly.
What where the experiences with RefereePro during the match?
Jaime Herrera: “One hour before the kick-off we went to the Home and Away locker rooms so the referee could explain the players the whole thing. Players where surprised, actually, but they were committed to help… and they did.”
“I can say that the referee was kind of nervous before the kick-off, but those nerves started to disappear once the match started. In fact, he made just two mistakes (not much considering there were 17 goals, two yellow cards and one red card); first mistake in the first minute of play (when he gave a goal to the wrong player), and the second one when he had to show a red card to a player and he sent the wrong “reason” to the Live TV broadcast).”
Cards and goals were also shown live on the RefereePro twitter account. The tweet below is from the first yellow card in the match.
00:49 Tarjeta amarilla – América (Raúl Rodrigo Lara) desaprobar
— RefereePro (@RefereePro) November 15, 2012
“The good thing here is that the referee from outside the pitch can always make corrections to the data that the main referee is sending. I´m sure referees will get used to the app and commit no mistakes while capturing data in future games, since the app was made exactly for that purpose. No big incidents though.”
What should be changed in the system? The card can only be seen from one side for instance.
“No major changes have to me made so far, however, it’s true what you say about the limited visibility of the cards. We are working on it so everybody can see it clearly.”
A consumer based version will be released in the coming months for Android and iPhone devices.
You could also follow Jaime Herrera on Twitter via @ArbitroJaimeHG