Ref wants body cameras introducing after he was abused by player in Kirkby footie game
An amateur ref who says he was verbally abused by a footballer he sent off during a match in Kirkby wants body cameras to deter future incidents.
Wayne Davenport, 36, abandoned a men’s game in February in fear for his safety.
After issuing a second yellow card, he said: “When he kept on coming closer, in the back of my head I was thinking ‘he’s not listening to me, something is going to happen here’.
“I put myself in a defensive stance just in case he decided to hit me round the face.
“He was showing the body language of being aggressive as well. The body language was there.”
After giving the player several warnings, he said he blew the full-time whistle early and proceeded to call the police.
Officers confirmed they were investigating “after threats were made to a match official” and said no arrests had been made.
Mr Davenport, of South Yorkshire, a level five referee who officiates junior and senior football, has launched a campaign for referees to be able to wear body cameras.
“It would diffuse situations. It will also show that the referees, individually, are trying their best to calm the situation down,” he said.
He explained he wanted the cameras to be used for senior games, adding he would “only turn it on when there’s a situation that goes off”.
He said body cameras could also be used for training purposes, so referees could watch back and see how they could have dealt with certain situations better.
Currently, referees are not allowed to wear such devices.
An FA spokesman said: “The FA abides by the laws of the game set out by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
“Under the current Laws, body cams are not permitted, which was agreed at the latest AGM in March this year.”
However, academics said the devices could prove beneficial.
Dr Dara Mojtahedi, lecturer in psychology and investigative psychology at the University of Huddersfield, who has been conducting research, said some referees had identified “multiple common reasons for why they believe that referee abuse takes place”.
These, he said, included people watching the professionals do it and get away with it, and also due to a “lack of punishment”.
Another reason was that abuse is often unreported.
“Factoring the latter two points, it could be argued that having video evidence may push organisations to act on the incidents which may result in more abusive parties being punished. Thus, it could be of use,” he added.
The IFAB confirmed body cameras had been discussed in the past but that it was decided match officials wearing the devices could lead to various problems, reaching from competition integrity to legal issues.
A Nottinghamshire FA spokeswoman added: “We are aware of Mr Davenport’s request and it has been sent to The FA and that there is no further comment at this time.”