Jousting will be officiated using Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology for the first time – but purists complain it will ruin the authenticity of the medieval sport.
English Heritage have teamed up with Hawk-Eye experts to trial the new system at Pendennis Castle in Cornwall during a series of jousts in August.
Two cameras positioned in the centre of the field will track the competitors’ moves and use video replay to provide an accurate score as they thunder towards each other at speeds of up to 30mph.
Jousters, who are weighed down by 20kg of steel armour, must hit their opponents with their 12ft lance to win points – including five for a hit to the helmet, three for the shield and two for the torso.
Tennis, cricket and rugby already use VAR, but not everyone is happy about England’s first national sport being brought into the 21st century.
Jeremy Richardson, who has been jousting for 40 years, is managing director of The Knights of Royal England, which hosts 80 tournaments across the UK every year with their six Spanish horses.
“The scoring can be tight, but we like the old-fashioned rule that the referee’s decision is final,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“We don’t like this newfangled, modern approach because we are recreating something from the 14th century. You may as well get drones in to fly above the horses heads!
“This technology will just slow the game down too. We’re not looking to bring jousting up to modern times, we are hoping to bring what happened in medieval times to families and young children.”
Jousting was a popular element of European medieval tournaments between the 13th and 16th centuries, in which knights showed off their martial skills.
In 2016 English Heritage launched a campaign for it to be recognised as an Olympic sport.
Emily Sewell, head of events at the charity, said: “Authenticity is at the heart of every English Heritage event, none more so than in jousting where we are proud to host the best talent from all around the world.
“There are of course modern additions, the public address systems for example, but for our knights jousting is an extremely serious business and the stakes are high.
“Ascertaining a just and fair result is paramount, as it would have been in the middle ages, and we are simply looking at how the very latest modern sporting technology might add to the experience.”