“Wesh, don’t touch me, bro!” » These words are those of the French international Presnel Kimpembe, addressed to Jérémie Pignard, referee of the match Paris Saint-Germain – Brest, on September 10, 2022, in Ligue 1 (L1). During this meeting, the defender was also captain of PSG. Normally, the vehement words spoken by the players on the lawns of the elite are inaudible. But, for this meeting, as for two other matches of the previous season, Amazon Prime Video, one of the official broadcasters of the L1, had equipped the man in black with a microphone. In a report broadcast on the weekly program “Sunday evening football”, the platform had revealed a posteriori the repeated challenges of the 22 players and brought to light inappropriate behavior.
On the lawns of France, the sound system of the referees is still only exceptional. On January 6, the executive committee of the French Football Federation (FFF) appointed Antony Gautier technical director of arbitration – replacing Pascal Garibian – and entrusted the professional sector to Stéphane Lannoy, both former L1 referees. Under their leadership and that of Eric Borghini, president of the Federal Commission of Referees (CFA), the FFF announced, Thursday, January 19, that it was going to ask the International Football Association Board, the body responsible for the rules of the round ball , the authorization to set up sound systems for referees in France on a recurring basis. The ultimate goal is to open the microphones, from the beginning to the end of the match, in order to allow a better understanding of the refereeing. This provision would also have the effect of making audible the multiple disputes of the players. Until dissuading them from being so vehement with the referees?
Ready for experimentation
The announcement of Eric Borghini to move towards sound systems for referees, but also to organize post-match press conferences for men on the whistle, delights the Union of Elite Football Referees (SAFE). “These are proposals that SAFE has been promoting and calling for for several years. If they are well supervised and implemented within the framework of a defined protocol by involving the referees, they can be beneficial to football, its spectators and television viewers, contribute to a better understanding of referees’ decisions and therefore to their greater great respect by all”he reacted, Friday, January 20, in a press release published on his website.
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