Referee Pro: the next evolution in digital sport?

Guest Post: Dominic Rust is a Sports Journalism student at Southampton Solent University and guest writer at Formula One FanCast and Tibs News.

Referee Pro just could be the latest, and one of the most significant, tech developments in football.  Not only does it makes the much berated Referee’s life considerably easier but also helps bring fans closer to the action.

Developers Sinne have in essence replaced the need for a pen and pencil with a smart phone device.  Its already been used in the largest football competition in Mexico, the Telmex Cup, in which thousands of local amateur teams compete and it’s already been seen as a success in this initial trial run.

In recent times, the decisions of the refs to give yellow/red cards and the decision making behind those calls has seen a lot of interest especially on social media.  It has been suggested that the app can help referees with the numerous decisions they need to make.

“Referee Pro is a simple but elegant approach to connect grassroots football to quantified self-data and social networks online.  A well as being a superb modern tool (replacing pen and paper) for the referees, it enables realtime upload of match data and tracking of match stats for grassroots and amateur games.” – Founder, Ed Maklouf

During the tournament in Mexico, the official’s decisions and match stats were distributed from the Referee Pro Smart device direct onto platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Fans can then follow their team and receive notifications of goals, yellow cards and other stats direct from the referee’s notebook. Amateur players are given a recording of the data including how many minutes they play, their goals and how their teams perform.

The London and Barcelona based company that created this smart device app are well known for other technical aids.  They have looked to develop this app with the aim to become one of the first to use sports technology to help officials in their control the game.

Goal line technology has taken Football years to be implemented due to its complexities, but Referee Pro has taken just a couple of months of development. The smart device app gives fans highly informative statistical information on the game they are currently watching.

Refereeing is a really tough job and technology could greatly assist in the many decisions they need to make during a single game.

The app is not available for download but is a service that varies in cost according to how much the chosen league uses it:

“Referee Pro is a full system designed for leagues and tournaments, rather than something referee’s use independently. The charge to the league depends on the social network features, the devices they require and the number of matches they cover with the service.”

Strategist and Founder Ed Maklouf now wants to expand Referee Pro to more countries including leagues in Europe and the United States.  But could it work over here?

Yes, I think so but the various leagues would have to pay for the app depending on how many matches they use it for.  I don’t think the FA, for example, would pay for 38 premier league games straight away.

Taking the information from the game and using it as either a stand-alone app or part of a club or league app would certainly add to the fan experience.  It wouldn’t give all the info a referee has (the exact reasons why he decided not to give that penalty) but we’d certainly know what has happened when and to who.

Depending on the cost, we’d have to wait on the usual process of having to go through a trial process in the Carling Cup or a lower league.  Then if it succeeded, the powers that be might one day give it a chance and we’ll see it in our own Premier League or even a World Cup.

It would also be easy to extend into other sports, so this may one day soon become a big player in a number of our sports.  Lets wait and see but it’s an exciting development for sure.

Referee Pro


Referee Pro



About author

Daniel McLaren
Daniel McLaren 820 posts

Dan is the Founder & CEO of Digital Sport. Can be found at sports industry events and heard every week on the Digital Sport Insider podcast. @DanielMcLaren

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