London Games: Teams can make referrals in hockey

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Bangalore, Jul 24: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has informed that video umpiring will be used in both the men's and women's sections at the London Olympics starting on July 29. Video umpiring was first put into use at the 2008 Beijing Games. Then, only the umpires could make a referral to the video umpire when they had any doubt about awarding or discarding a goal.

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The FIH said on its web site that the breach of rules within the attacking 23 metre area in the play leading to the goal was particularly a subject of referral. However, in this year's Olympics, the competing teams will also be make one referral each through the match umpire.

This is a development that took place after the Beijing Games and London will be the first Olympics with such feature.

The FIH added that the teams can avail of the referrals during the regular time, extra time in the spot-deciding matches but not during the penalty shoot-outs. Then, only the umpire referrals will be permitted. Team referrals are also restricted to decisions within 23 metre areas related to goals, penalty strikes and corners.

Any player may ask for the referral following an incident and they have to use the 'T' signal to alert the umpire and then communicate with him what it is to be reviewed. The umpire then talks to the video umpire and the latter gives his recommendation after reviewing the camera angles.

The final decision rests with the match umpire. In case a team's referral is upheld, the referring team retains its right of referral. If the video footage is unclear and inconclusive, then also the referring team retains its referral rights. But it loses its right of making referrals for that match if there is no convincing reason to alter the umpire's original decision.

The video umpire will have at his disposal a new recording and replay system in London. Under normal conditions, the video umpire has direct contact with the TV production system to seek necessary replays but owing to the broadcasting system at the Olympics, the direct contact will not be possible. The technology for the replay system will be provided by Hawk-Eye, the UK-based company known for its ball-tracking technology in other sports like cricket and tennis.

In terms of technology also, London Games will mark a new beginning. The umpires, during the matches at London Games, will be using Adeunis radios which are used by UEFA and FIFA referees.

These radios help in setting up direct links between umpires and improve management of the game. Match recording and logging will also take place from the live international broadcast feed. Logging will be done with Dartfish Connect + software and not the normal Sportscode.

The Umpire Managers will log ‘live' on an iPad from their seats. They can tag any specific incident which they might want to review with the umpires in the post-match review session. The umpires will also get a DVD of their own matches which they can review for private interest.

OneIndia News

(With FIH inputs)

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