A video referee who takes initiative

Umpire Peter Wright caused a lot of confusion among the players during the hockey match between New Zealand and The Netherlands for the 3rd place in the Champion’s Trophy.

The video referee got to answer the question whether the ball has touched a Dutch foot, which is not allowed in field hockey. The South African match official took some initiative and also told the umpires on the pitch that the ball was out just before the ball has touched a Dutch foot.

And that’s what he wasn’t supposed to do. In field hockey a team can call for a video referee just once and when they got it right, they still keep that opportunity. About the same as the hawk-eye system in tennis, only with less opportunities. The Dutch team should have questioned if the ball has crossed the line. They did not, so the referee shouldn’t investigate the situation.

The field referees called for a goal kick, which eventually was the correct decision. That’s what refereeing is about. Right?

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