Essex grassroots football refereeing received positive coverage when BBC Radio 5 Live discussed ‘bodycams’ and the future of officiating on Wednesday 6th December, featuring local referee, Max Young, as part of their ‘Focus on Football’ Week.
The aim of the current bodycam trial for grassroots referees, taking place in four selected adult grassroots leagues in England, is to explore whether their use improves participant behaviour, and respect towards referees in the adult grassroots game.
Young referee Max spoke about his own experience of wearing the camera and said he felt it is a positive idea when it comes to getting people into, and remaining in, refereeing. The Essex County FA helped to arrange the visit to one of the trial games on the Saturday before the broadcast to see the bodycam in action, record clips of what participants thought of the concept, and to ask whether it’s made a difference.
The chosen match was an Essex Alliance League Division One Cup fixture between Lymore Gardens (Under 23s) and Freetown, which took place at the brand new Parsloes Park Hub’s main 3G pitch in Dagenham. Despite the freezing temperatures, the game was played in good spirits and Lymore eventually ran out 7-0 winners.
Essex County FA Referee Development Manager, Lukas Wood, commented: “We care passionately about the welfare of our referees. That's why we’re delighted to be one of the four counties where this bodycam trial is taking place for selected adult grassroots referees in England, alongside leagues in Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Worcester.”
“There has been positive feedback so far from referees, coaches and players. We're still at a very early stage but we're excited to see how it works within matches to better understand how they could help affect the behaviour of players and coaches towards referees.”
“It was excellent to hear feedback on the bodycam trial from players, coaches, spectators and league representatives. The match was played in a positive matchday environment at an excellent new venue. It’s clear that the players and coaches had full respect for Max and I’m sure he’ll go on to have a great future in refereeing.”
To find out more about how to become a grassroots football referee in Essex, or to discover development opportunities for existing match officials, visit the 'Referees' section of our website. Information is also shared by @EssexCountyFA and @EssexReferees on Twitter/X and by the ‘EssexFootball’ and ‘EssexReferees’ pages on Facebook.