Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are accused of using an Apple Watch to cheat during a Major League Baseball match with the YankeesGetty

The Boston Red Sox baseball team has been accused of cheating by using an Apple Watch to quickly relay information about their opponents' hand signals to players going in to bat.

Relaying opponents' hand signals to help the batter determine what type of ball to expect next is a common part of Major League Baseball (MLB). Hand signals, known as signs, given by the catcher to the pitcher suggest what type of ball to throw, out of sight of the batter stood with their back to the catcher.

While the batting team can attempt to pass on details of these signs to their batter, via other players and coaching staff, they must only use their eyes; binoculars and electronic gadgets are forbidden.

The Red Sox are alleged to have used an Apple Watch to pass this information to players more quickly. According to a report by the New York Times, the Boston team would use an off-field person to watch a TV feed of the game, spot the catcher's signs, then relay this information to the dugout via an Apple Watch. This sign would then be mimicked by the dugout, telling the batter what to expect.

The illicit scheme is alleged to have been used against the New York Yankees, who have filed a complaint to the sport's commissioner's office. The complaint included video, shot by the Yankees, of the Red Sox dugout during a three-game series between the two teams in August. The video is claimed to show a member of the Boston team looking at an Apple Watch before relaying a message to their players.

An investigation by MLB will now take place to determine whether the Red Sox used a similar technique in other matches.

In response to the allegations, the Red Sox filed a complaint on 5 September against the Yankees, claiming the team uses a broadcast camera exclusively to see their opponent's signs, something the Yankees deny.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, speaking to reporters at an unrelated event this week, said punishment was being considered. "Could it happen? You know, is there the authority to [issue punishment]? I think the answer to that, under the major league constitution, is yes. Has it ever happened with this type of allegation? I think the answer is - I know the answer is no. And the reason for that is it's just very hard to know what the actual impact on any particular game was of an alleged violation."