Referees ● Aug 08, 2011

Taking a step forward with technology

The ‘Florence Nightingale’ of local football, Nurhafizah Abu Sujad broadens the reach of her quest to keep footballers in top condition, joining the Lion City Sailors while retaining her role as National Teams Head Physiotherapist.

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In an effort to enhance the referee’s performance, the Football Association of Singapore acquired a wireless audio conference system aptly named, VOK-REF that allows a referee to communicate with his assistants and the fourth official, to used on a trial basis. The same communication device was first used in the 2006 Word Cup Finals and then again in the 2010 World Cup Finals.

The system requires each official to wear on their arm a transmitting device, which is connected to an earpiece and microphone. Though it needs some getting used to, the device is akin to having an extra pair of eyes as all four officials are on the same frequency with everything that takes place on and off the pitch.

One of Singapore’s top referees, Abdul Malik who used the device while officiating this year’s AFC Asian Cup and also during the 2011 Great Eastern YEO’S S.League match between Home United and Singapore Armed Forces FC, said “We are able to focus more on other areas on the field and also improve our performance on the pitch.”

He added that “It is a very good device and helps in making crucial decisions during a match. Although, I must say that it is uncomfortable at first with a voice in your ear telling you that a substitution is coming on or a player is ready to come on after receiving treatment on the sidelines. But you will get used to it as the match goes on.”

The Referees department will continue to use the trial set in various upcoming matches.