Swiss Football League goes for Riedel Bolero S to enhance referee communications

MCR Technical Operation Centre

The Swiss Football League (SFL) has used Riedel Communications’ Bolero S to enhance its referee communications during the 2019/2020 season.

In partnership with production company NEP, Riedel provided Bolero S, a managed-service offering built around the award-winning Bolero wireless intercom, to drive the SFL’s Video Assistant Referee (VAR) program.

Bolero S is a fail-safe intercom system built around Riedel’s Artist communications infrastructure that provides an individualised, voice-activated, Bolero-based wireless device, with remote support delivered by NEP from SFL’s technical operation centre in Switzerland. The system pairs intercom technology with custom engineering and hands-on support by Riedel-qualified engineers, resulting in clear and reliable communications that can be applied in any sport and for any crew members, including officiators and coaches.

Rolled out for the SFL’s 2019/2020 season, the referee communications infrastructure developed by Riedel and NEP was successfully used for all 182 games of the Raiffeisen Super League, with the system enabling reliable communications between officials, their assistants on the sidelines, and the SFL’s video operation room in Switzerland.

Two Bolero S antennas and seven beltpacks were deployed to each of the stadiums, with a three-member team at the NEP broadcast centre facility supporting referees in the stadium by monitoring multiple television broadcast feeds of live game play. The video operations team then used the Bolero S system to communicate information in real time and with highest-possible audio quality to the match officials to help them make informed decisions on questionable plays.

Dani Wermelinger, head of the elite referee department at SFV, commented: “After a detailed analysis of all 182 matches, we can state that the VAR presented a clear and obvious error in 36 cases. Without the support from the video operators, these situations would have been wrongly assessed and in the worst case would have led to a different result. This clearly demonstrates that the VAR has made football in Switzerland fairer and more just.”

Reto Häuselmann, VAR project manager at Swiss Football League, added: “We’re very proud of the VAR system, which is by far the most important technology innovation in modern Swiss football. The VAR project was extremely complex, with a wide range of technology, training, and process elements that had to be interlinked, and our partnership with Riedel was one key to the success of this project. A stable, reliable communications link with outstanding voice quality was also critical, and looking at the positive feedback we’ve gotten from our referees, Bolero S seems to have delivered on its promise.”

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