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FIH reviews Video Umpire procedures
02 Oct 2007 07:17

Following the decision to use Video Umpire at Men’s and Women’s World Level events, the system has now been in place at 5 Tournaments – the Women’s Champions Trophy in Amstelveen (NED) in July 2006, the Men’s & Women’s World Cups in September 2006 in Monchengladbach (GER) and Madrid (ESP) respectively, the Women’s Champions Trophy in Quilmes (ARG) in January 2007 and the Men’s Champions Challenge in Boom (BEL) in June 2007.

A small taskforce has been reviewing the Video Umpire procedures and protocols in the light of the various referrals from these Tournaments. The possibility to reach a correct Video Umpire decision, but an incorrect match decision, became apparent at the Quilmes Tournament.

Peter von Reth, Chairman of the Umpiring Committee explained ‘Under the existing procedures the Video Umpire can only answer the question asked by the match umpires. In this case it was whether the ball had deflected off the stick of an attacker before it crossed the goal line. The ball clearly deflected off the attacker’s stick inside the circle and therefore a goal was awarded. Unfortunately the Video Umpire was not allowed to mention that the ball subsequently deflected off the attacker’s own foot before it entered the goal, which could be clearly seen from the replays of the incident. It was therefore necessary that we take action to close this loophole’.

The taskforce’s review has resulted in some minor, but significant, changes to the Video Umpire procedures and protocols.

Firstly, the number of scenarios for referral to the Video Umpire has been reduced from three to two, but with two of the previous referral possibilities (for deflections and whether the ball was inside/outside the circle) having been combined: -

  1. Has the ball crossed the goal line (within the area bounded by the goalposts and crossbar)
  2. Was the ball played or touched inside the circle by the stick of an attacker before the ball crossed the goal line

Secondly, the Video Umpire can only answer the question asked but, in cases where a breach of the rules is observed (in relation to the question asked), will now be able to advise the umpire of that breach (where this might affect the final decision).  It is then for the umpire to take the breach into account in reaching his/her decision. With this change the final decision now rests with the match umpire, rather than with the Video Umpire.

The rest of the Video Umpire procedures remain unchanged, so that the only persons who can refer decisions to the Video Umpire will still be the match umpires. Referrals will only occur if both the umpires are not convinced that they have taken, or are able to take, the correct decision.

As previously, referrals cannot be made as a result of protests, queries or pressure from players, team managers or coaches on any decision. No one, including the Video Umpire or Officials at the Technical Table, can stop the match to request a referral. The decision of the match umpires therefore remains final and no protest against this will be possible

‘We feel that these changes will improve our Video Umpire system, although we will continue to monitor its use after each and every event that it is in operation’, concluded Peter von Reth.

The Video Umpire system will next be in use at the Men’s Champions Trophy, due to take place in Kuala Lumpur (MAS), 29 November -9 December 2007.

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