While international hockey players are still divided over the much talked about referral system introduced in the World Cup here, it was used straightaway in the inaugural match between Spain and South Africa.
South Africa captain Austin Smith made good use of the referral system twice in the second half (44th and 61st) and gave thumbs up to the new rule while Spanish captain Pol Amat and Australian coach Ric Charlesworth felt it slowed down the pace of the game.
“On the first occasion, we were sure it was a clear obstruction and we referred and we got the penalty corner, though we were not lucky to convert it. In the second referral also we were confident that the goal was not legal, but video umpire Hamish Jamson (England) thought otherwise,” said Smith.
“I think it is a good rule and slowly captains will make the best use of it. If we have the technology, then why not go for it to improve the umpiring? I am completely in favour of it,” Smith added.
Amat was critical of the system and said it makes the game mechanical. “It is frustrating when the game stops and you have to wait for the decision of the video umpire. It slows the game and I think it was too early to implement the system in such a big event,” the Spaniard said.
Charlesworth concurred with Amat and called the system a “disgrace” after Australia were shocked 2-3 by England in the second match of the opening day.
“This system is a disgrace, the teams are wasting their time with it. It takes the pace off the game,” Charlesworth said.
FIH competitions committee chairman Ken Read said: “The primary purpose of the video umpire is to reduce major errors which may impact upon the result of a match,"
According to International Hockey Federation (FIH) rules, teams are allowed one referral per match on the decision of umpires to award, or disallow, goals, penalty-corners and penalty strokes. The team captain must request the review as soon as the incident takes place. If the referral is upheld, the team will get one more referral.