Scottish FA denies claims it 'blocked' Hibs boss from wearing microphone amid Sky Sports pundit criticism

Hibs boss Nick Montgomery will no longer wear a microphone during the derby against Hearts. (Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group)Hibs boss Nick Montgomery will no longer wear a microphone during the derby against Hearts. (Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group)
Hibs boss Nick Montgomery will no longer wear a microphone during the derby against Hearts. (Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group)
Broadcaster’s plans for in-game coverage from Hibs dugout have been shelved

The Scottish Football Association has denied claims from Sky Sports that it “blocked” Hibs manager Nick Montgomery from wearing a microphone during last night’s Edinburgh derby against Hearts at Easter Road.

The broadcaster had planned to mic up the Hibs boss to give TV viewers the chance to hear specific coaching instructions during the game, while Hibs assistant Sergio Raimundo was to wear a bodycam to give a first-person perspective from the dugout.

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The proposals had received the blessing of the SPFL, with chief executive Neil Doncaster hailing the “broadcasting innovations”, adding: “We’re excited to see how the technology brings the match experience even closer for viewing fans.”

However, news broke just hours before kick-off that plans for in-game coverage from the Hibs dugout had been scrapped, with Sky Sports host Eilidh Barbour stating on air that the “the SFA have blocked us putting a microphone on Nick Montgomery and a bodycam on coach Sergio Raimundo.”

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton, who works as a pundit for Sky, branded the SFA an “embarrassment” on X, posting: “It would have been fascinating to hear how he worked and his mindset ingame. But for whatever reason the SFA blcoked it. The SFA are an embarrassment and stuck in the past. Dear me...”

Fellow Sky pundit Kris Boyd, the former Rangers striker, who was part of the broadcasting team at Easter Road, added: “It is a shame. You want to move the game forward and there’s been plenty people up here have got enough to say about Sky but when you try to do something to improve it, to make it better, to give the fans an insight into what’s going on behind the scenes, it’s been blocked. But listen, we move on, it’s Scottish football.”

However, the SFA insist they were not consulted on the plans and that after requesting advice from IFAB, football’s law makers, they were informed that Sky’s plans to mic up Montgomery would contravene Law 4 relating to unauthorised use of electronic communication equipment.

An SFA statement read: “Contrary to reports and commentary ahead of tonight’s Edinburgh Derby, the Scottish FA did not block the use of communication equipment or cameras as part of the matchday broadcast.

“Upon learning of the plans via a media release, we asked IFAB on behalf of the clubs, league and broadcaster and were informed on Christmas Eve that the intended use was not allowed within Law 4, which states that the use of electronic communication by team staff is permitted only when it relates to player safety and wellbeing, or for tactical or coaching reasons. We immediately relayed this confirmation from IFAB to the relevant parties."

Hampden bosses are understood to have had concerns relating to the opposition gaining a possible advantage by hearing tactical discussions, potential gambling breaches with punters having access to dugout conversations, and the potential for abuse of referee John Beaton and fellow officials being broadcast.

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Hearts boss Steven Naismith had turned down the chance to be mic’d up due to what he labelled “intrusive” elements of the plans, but Sky Sports cameras were allowed in to film the team’s pre-match meal, while bodycams were worn by players during the pre-match warm-up.

Asked by Sky Sports whether the SFA intervention was disappointing, Hibs boss Montgomery said: "It’s something that we agreed on and as a club we were willing to embrace it in order to showcase the league and this special derby. All we can do is control what we can.”



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