Sunday, July 27, 2014

8.3.2 If the referee is in doubt on a call (e.g. the referee sees the effects of a hit but does not see the action). a penalty must not be called.

Today’s rule continues the discussion of “referee discretion” under Rule 8, “Officials.

Today’s rule is about making sure a referee only calls penalties on actions they see and the effects of those actions, and not just because they saw the effect of the action, but not the action itself.

Referees are trained to make penalty calls based on seeing the beginning, middle, and end of a particular action. If a referee does not see all three, they do not have enough information to make a correct call. A common example of this is when a referee calls a high block when they see a skater holding their head or reacting in some way that indicates they were hit in the head or above the shoulders. If the referee did not see who made the contact and the manner in which the contact was made, the referee cannot make that penalty call.

This brings up a few issues about officiating. First, its important for all officials to try to be in position to have the best viewpoint to make a call. In every sport I officiate, the philosophy is “Coaches are always going to complain about your judgement, they should never be able to question your positioning”. If an official is out of position in any sport, its very obvious and very hard to justify a call made when an official is out of position.

Second, it’s important for officials to review your own work. Video review with other officials is a great way to go over what you saw, what you didn’t see, and if you were in position at all times. Review makes you a better official and will get you more respect from the teams you officiate.

Finally, skaters need to realize that officials will NEVER see every call every time. Derby, as well as Derby officiating, is a human endeavor. The really good officials work hard to drastically minimize the calls they will miss, but they will miss calls. The dynamics of derby make it hard sometimes to see each and every illegal action. This is why this rule is crucial. It keeps the officials from “assuming” illegal action. If we didn't see the beginning, middle, and end of an action, this rule tells us we cannot make a penalty call.