Lack of TV footage limits use of referrals

 The International Hockey Federation will be implementing the controversial video referral system in the Olympic Qualifiers, but strangely only in the classification matches that could potentially ignite a controversy or two in the do-or-die battles.

After receiving much flak during the 2010 World Cup held here at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium where it was tried out, the world body has gone on to use referrals in many tournaments, most recently at the women’s Champions Trophy in Argentina.

Explaining the rationale behind implementing the referrals only for the final day -- for both men and women -- FIH Media Officer Yan Huckendubler said it was because of the lack of television coverage.

“We have six matches -- three men and three women -- everyday, but only four are broadcast live,” Huckendubler told Deccan Herald on Friday. “We depend a lot on the footage from the broadcasters to make a decision.

“If the matches are not covered by the broadcasters from where will we get the footage. It will be completely unfair if eight teams benefit from the referrals and four don’t. On the final day (women’s on Feb 25 and men’s on Feb 26) we have just three matches and all of them will be covered.

“That’s why we decided to implement it only for the classification matches.”
In the World Cup, the system ran into rough weather when, at times the teams chose to call for reviews late — almost when the opposition had reached the other end. Asked if there is a cap on when a team needs to appeal, Huckendubler said it was still being deliberated upon. “We are yet to make a decision on that. Probably, we’ll do so in the coming days. The only certain thing now is that each team will get one unsuccessful review.”

The world body has stated the current qualifying structure will cease to exist after 2012 with a new process set to be adopted for 2016 Games in Brazil.

“The current system -- based largely on world rankings -- is not appreciated by many. Since Europeans occupy the bulk of the top-10 rankings, we have given them three slots. However, things are set to change,” he said.

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