High-tech shin pads which alert referees if a footballer has dived were unveiled by a British inventor today.
The new shin pads, which could end the culture of cheating in British football, are equipped with built-in sensors and magnets that detect the impact of tackles.
If a player wearing the pads dives without contact being made an alarm is triggered to alert the referee that cheating has occurred.
The high-tech pads also contain a proximity sensor which prevents players from kicking themselves to simulate a foul.
The new design could help eliminate poor refereeing decisions and penalise notorious divers such as Chelsea’s Didier Drogba.
Steve May-Russell, managing director at creative consultants Smallfry, which developed the prototype shin pad, hopes the FA will use more technology in games.
He said: ”Each pad has two sensors and magnets. One sensor is to confirm another player is very close and one is an impact sensor.
”When both sensors are triggered they set the alarm off.
”If a player tries to cheat and kick himself in the shins, the proximity sensor will know it was not another player and will not trigger.
”It is about time the FA started listening to fans. People get so wound up when wrong decisions are made and sometimes violence occurs as a result.
”It would be so much better if it was clear for everyone to see whether a foul has been made, similar to the technology on display at Wimbledon.
”We worked on the innovation and made this prototype to show companies the possibilities and we hope the FA will be interested.”
The new pads were developed by engineers at Smallfry, based in Coventry, West Mids., and were trialled in a game between fans in Battersea Park, London today.
The built-in sensors allow referees to determine whether a foul is genuine or if a player has tried to cheat by diving or kicked himself in the shins.
It is hoped that the new technology can prevent controversial decisions and allow tackles to be resolved correctly on the pitch.
Ex-Premiership referee Jeff Winter, who is backing the campaign for more technology in football, believes the game ”needs to change”.
He said: ”The game has to change, we have reached a point where diving is becoming almost a tolerated part of the game.
”It is not. It is cheating and needs to be stamped out. Be it shin pads, or goal-line sensors – there are whole host of options out there and it’s our duty to explore them.”
The prototype shin pads have been sponsored by Texaco.