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Scilly's football league tests world-first technology

The world’s smallest football league kicked off the season in style recently with a brand new piece of technology.

The Isles of Scilly's two-team league used a well-known Video-Assistant Referee (VAR) system - with a twist.

The first game of the season between the Garrison Gunners and Woolpack Wanderers saw a world-first test of FAR - Fan-Assistant Refereeing - thanks to the new 5G Vodafone network.

Vodafone said: "While many football fans across the globe enjoy being armchair referees, it’s the supporters of the Garrison Gunners and Woolpack Wanderers on the Isles of Scilly who can now officially claim that title as their own."

Equipped with Samsung S10 5G handsets, supporters on St Mary's were able to review incidents just after they happened and have their say on several fouls, a disputed goal, and two contested penalties during the game.

Following a quick online vote, fans’ decisions were relayed to Paul Charnock, the match official and former first division linesman, at pitch side. The Woolpack Wanderers won the match 4 - 3, with just minutes to spare.

Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Football League Anthony ‘Gibbo’ Gibbons said: “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.”

Vodafone UK’s Chief Executive Officer Nick Jeffery said “This was great fun for the fans, and we’re very happy to have been the first network operator to take 5G to the Isles of Scilly."

Following the success of the world’s first 5G-enabled Fan-Assistant Referee test, Vodafone said it will now work alongside local businesses looking to boost tourism on the islands.

5G connectivity will "enable them to show high-definition videos and 3D-images of the islands’ attractions to a worldwide, online audience".

Vodafone signed a two-year 5G sponsorship agreement with St Mary’s Association Football Club in June this year.


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