The clock is ticking as the big kick off looms – and will continue to tick throughout the Engage Super League season on 14 new official Polar Countdown Clocks that will keep time at all non-televised matches in 2010.
For the first time, every Engage Super League stadium is to be fitted with Swiss Timing clocks linked to the official timekeeper that will inform officials, players and spectators how long remains until the final hooter sounds.
The specially-commissioned countdown clocks will be installed over the next few weeks as they arrive from Switzerland and are being sponsored by Polar, worldwide pioneers in heart rate training systems.
As part of the new system the official time at every Engage Super League match will be kept by a timekeeper appointed by the RFL, rather than jointly by representatives of the two clubs involved.
“The need to have a visible official clock has been widely recognised for some time and the deal with Polar allows us to install a feature which can only serve to enhance the gameday experience for everyone,” said Stuart Cummings, the RFL’s Match Officials Director.
“The Engage Super League club coaches have long complained that their players often believe time is nearly up and consequently start pushing their last plays too soon in close matches: the Polar Countdown Clock will ensure everyone knows precisely how long remains.
“As the timekeeper needs to be in constant radio contact with the referee, we have had to change the practice of having club representatives keeping the time. However clubs will be entitled to have an observer alongside the official timekeeper on matchdays, should they so wish.”
In televised fixtures the official time will continue to be shown on the big screen
Malcolm Douglas, the Managing Director of Polar, said: “Polar is delighted to be working closely with the RFL and to be the sponsor of the new countdown clocks.
“We are widely recognised as the leading product and the most respected brand for heart rate monitoring equipment and services and the product has a natural fit in Rugby League.
“Polar has an on-going partnership with the RFL’s Performance Department, who use Polar heart rate monitors in their fitness training, which helps them to stay at the top of their game.
“This is an exciting sponsorship for Polar. The Engage Super League is both very successful and professional and Polar is proud to be the sponsor of the countdown clocks.
“Polar products are the market leaders for heart rate, performance training and timing data and this is a positive and exciting step for both organisations.”