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Riedel debuts RefCam referee camera system in German football league

Riedel Communications’ RefCam referee camera system has made its much-anticipated debut in the German Bundesliga football league, marking a significant milestone for sports broadcasting technology. Worn by referee Daniel Schlager during a recent match between Eintracht Frankfurt and VfL Wolfsburg, RefCam captured an immersive, first-person perspective of the on-field action. 

This collaborative effort, spearheaded by Riedel and referees Patrick Kessel and Nicolas Winter through their venture In-YS (In Your Shoes), aims to provide viewers with a view of the game while fostering a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by referees. 

Winter, who is also Co-Founder & Managing Director of In-YS, said, “We don’t want to change the game; our goal is to provide fresh perspective and further increase the transparency of referees’ work.

“Our camera shows unmediated reality, the true speed at which we must make decisions. We hope that this will increase appreciation of our work among fans and athletes — and help counteract the current shortage of young referees.”

RefCam integrates a head-mounted camera with a transmission system. Weighing a mere 6g, the ultra-lightweight design ensures minimal interference for the referee. The system offers both live and record-only options, along with a mute function for the integrated microphone, prioritising referee privacy. 

Footage captured by RefCam during the Bundesliga match was showcased in the recent Referees Mic’d up – Bundesliga programme produced by DFL Digital Sports. This programme, which went on air on March 12, provided national and international audiences with insights into the world of football officiating. 

The system’s deployment gained approval from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and involved close collaboration between the German Football Association (DFB), the German Football League (DFL), and the participating clubs.

While the Bundesliga debut utilised the record-only version, Riedel has successfully demonstrated RefCam’s debut ability to deliver broadcast-quality visuals during various national and international league events. 

Jan Schaffner, Programme Manager at Riedel Communications, added, “RefCam is a Riedel innovation through and through.

“Following this successful Bundesliga debut, we will conduct a thorough review of RefCam’s performance in collaboration with Bundesliga officials. This evaluation will determine any necessary adjustments to optimise the technology for future use.”

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