Football: Referees take to the airwaves

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REFEREES AND their assistants will be fitted with a radio and earpiece so they can keep in contact with each other at every Premiership match.

"I would be hoping that we will be using it in every game and not just this season," the Premier League Referees' Officer Philip Don said of the experiment, which has been approved by Fifa, the world's governing body.

The device was first piloted in FA Youth Academy matches earlier this year, before the scheme was tested at the Liverpool-Tottenham game in May. Then, referee Stephen Lodge removed it at half-time.

"We've looked at the frequencies and streamlined the system," Don said. "They've got to get used to operating it, but generally, it's helped referees improve their control."

Referees will also be paying extra attention to gamesmanship such as diving.

"We're saying that players who dive will be cautioned," Don added. "The image of the game is suffering due to the amount of foul, abusive and insulting language there is at the moment. Where that language is wilfully directed at the match officials, the referee will be taking action."

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