Match officials' conversations should be recorded, says former referee chief Hackett

The former general manager of Premier League referees has called for all conversations between match officials to be taped following allegations concerning Mark Clattenburg
Keith Hackett, the former general manager of Premier League referees, believes match officials' conversations should be recorded and fans should be able to hear them during every game.

Referees in particular are under increasing pressure following a police investigation into alleged "inappropriate language" directed towards Chelsea's John Obi Mikel by Mark Clattenburg, which the referee denies.

And Hackett believes it would be beneficial if all conversations between officials were taped in order to review any future incidents - with fans also being able hear exactly what is being said by those in charge on the pitch.

"I would like to see a referee-coach at the ground able to listen in to the team of officials. And given what has happened in the past few days and, with no knee jerk reaction, I would like to see conversations between the match officials for the full duration of the game recorded," he told The Observer.

Any rule change concerning the recording of match officials would have to be ratified by Ifab [International Football Association Board], with the FA declaring it is too soon after the Clattenburg incident to move and address the issue.

Hackett continued: "The FA are members of the Ifab, so could bring forward a proposal to permit the recording of the conversations between players and officials during a game."

The former referee chief believes the ability for fans to also listen in as the game unfolds would be of great benefit, adding: "I would have no problems with fans having the ability to purchase a "Ref! Link" to listen in to what the match officials are saying."

The Ref!Link system is already in use in rugby union, allowing spectators to listen in to conversations between referees and players following decisions.

And Hackett himself introduced microphones for referees in 2006 so that a referees' coach could listen in at Premier League matches for greater understanding and transparency.