The Bolero S - a new level of referee communication

A new season stands for new developments on all levels – as is the case in the Bundesliga, which offers another brand new technological innovation. Since the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign a new communication system is being used by match officials: the “BOLERO S”.

Developed in close cooperation with the DFL, its subsidiary Sportec Solutions, and the internationally recognized manufacturer RIEDEL Communications, the “BOLERO S” is the result of merging top class refereeing expertise with the in-depth knowledge of innovative radio technology. The partnership focuses strongly on pairing optimal sound quality with the best-possible network reliability to further improve the communication between match referees and the Video-Assist-Center in Cologne.

The initial prototype of the new device was presented in March 2018, after approximately seven months of close collaboration on the project. Since then, continued product adjustments finally led to the finished device as presented in July, just in time for the start of the 2018-19 season. First used during the 2018 Supercup between Eintracht Frankfurt und FC Bayern München, the “BOLERO S” will be used in all 306 Bundesliga matches of the current season. The new system also includes an innovative remote support model via Riedel’s Remote Operations Centre (ROC) in Wuppertal. Centralised remote support is available on match days for immediate troubleshooting and constant sound-adjustments in accordance with changing atmosphere and noise levels inside the stadium, while the overall system receives around-the-clock monitoring.

Further changes to the use of video assistants include the implementation of more explanatory on-screen information for both in-stadium audiences and TV viewers as well as the addition of a calibrated offside line that provides a clear visual in difficult offside decisions. The optimum technical calibration to be performed individually for every Bundesliga match and the video assistant’s in-depth knowledge of the rules provide the best possible basis for the use of the calibrated offside line.