Statement on The FA Body Cam Pilot

We want to state that we are delighted that The FA have launched a Body Cam pilot after many years of lobbying by us for a pilot to be delivered.

After asking the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and The FA many times over many years to look at delivering a Body Cam Pilot, it is wonderful to see The FA launch a Pilot this weekend that we fully support..

We feel however, that it’s necessary to explain the journey and how we got here.

We first asked The FA to help us approach IFAB  for a body cam pilot in 2018, we were rebuked with a very curt reply staying “The FA have no appetite for Body Cams” This response became the norm. We alway felt that this was a unilateral decision by one individual who made this decision on behave of the organisation as a whole.

Not long after our request to The FA to allow referees to wear body cams, IFAB released a law amendment to “Law 5 The Referee” stating ” Referees and other on field match officials are prohibited from wearing any electronic equipment, including cameras”

We felt this was a direct request from The FA to make this amendment in response to our very public lobbying for a body cam piot that was very well received by the press and refereesWe asked IFAB  many times “who suggested this amended and why?” and they never replied, even though we informed them that they contravined their own rules in issuing clarifications of law changes and why Law 5  was amended. This lack of clarification had never occurred before with any law amendment other than this one for Body Cams.

We felt this was again someone making a unilateral decision on behalf of an organisation as a whole and thus not following the clear protocol.

It was therefore very interesting to see that very shortly after two senior members of The FA left the FA, The FA approached IFAB for a Body Cam pilot.

The reason we are making this clear is that The FA have appeared to have culturally changed recently in regards to refereeing and for the better. They have become very open and determined to increase the support for grassroots referee and have backed this pilot very strongly. To now see Andy Ambler, a senior member of The FA come out publicly in the press to discuss the huge problem of ref abuse was very welcome indeed and has set a positive precedent.

Never again should The FA allow individuals to make decisions for the organisation as a whole and we hope that they continue to improve their relationship with us as a Credible Referee Support organisation who is willing to support their messages and programs without receiving any funding from them.

We believe this body cam pilot is the most progressive, positive and forward thinking development that the FA have ever introduced for the protection and support of grassroots match officials.

We as a registered charity supporting referees independently from The FA wish to thank Danny Meeson and Andy Ambler for asking IFAB for permission to deliver this pilot and for keeping their word in regard to the  protection of  match officials at all levels of the game.

The Trustees of Ref Support UK.

Charity No 1171000