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Move over VAR, here comes FAR – using Vodafone 5G to turn fans into referees

VAR has been gaining the headlines all season for all the wrong reasons, but Vodafone is going a step further by allowing fans to act as assistant referees and contribute to vital decisions on the pitch – in real-time.

Image by Gary Morrisroe

What could possibly go wrong?

Clearly not to be taken too seriously, the whole thing is to showcase Vodafone’s launch of 5G on the Isles of Scilly, demonstrating its desire to support rural and isolated communities.

It’s here that you can find the world’s smallest football league. The Isles of Scilly football league comprises just two teams, who play each other around 20 times a season as well as cup games.

Vodafone has signed a two-year 5G sponsorship agreement that has enabled Garrison Gunners and Woolpack Wanderers to be the first in the world to try out a service that I’m sure many would love to try out in the Premier League.

VAR (Video-Assistant Referee) system has been replaced by FAR (Fan-Assistant Referee) and utilises the faster speed, and lower latency, offered by 5G to allow the real-time streaming of a football match, with footage from multiple angles, to finally give armchair referees their chance to shine.

How FAR works (click for full size image)

Fans were given Samsung S10 5G handsets to review incidents straight after they happened – and you can see in the video below how fans voted to make the decisions that ultimately saw Woolpack Wanderers win 4-3.

“I have never seen the referee so happy after a game. He was empowered by the other islanders to make bold decisions – and not always in my team’s favour! Vodafone’s involvement with the league has got everyone excited.”

Anthony ‘Gibbo’ Gibbons, Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Football League

Following the introduction of 5G on the Isles of Scilly, Vodafone will now work alongside local businesses to help take advantage of the technology. In particular to promote tourism on the islands.

Vodafone has a total of 77 towns and cities covered by 5G in the UK and Europe, and also offers unlimited data plans and 5G roaming.

More info: Vodafone

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