Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of many sports and the FIH is pleased to confirm that Video Umpire will be operation at the XXX Olympic Games for all Men’s and Women’s matches played on the main competition pitch. Below explains all the resources that will be available to the umpiring team and how the systems will operate.
Video Umpire was first used in the Olympics in Beijing. At that time, it was only the umpires that could initiate a referral. These umpire referrals will still be in operation in London, whereby the umpires can refer decisions to a video umpire when they are not convinced that they have made or can make the correct decision about awarding or disallowing a goal. This includes whether a breach of the rules has taken place within the attacking 23 metre area in the play leading to the goal.
Since Beijing, the possibility for a team to request a referral has been included and so London will see this for the first time at an Olympics. Each team is allowed one team referral, which must be made through the match umpire. This can occur at any time during a match, including extra time in classification matches, but not during shoot-outs. Only umpire referrals are permitted during a shoot-out. Team referrals are restricted to decisions within the 23 metre areas relating to goals, penalty strokes and penalty corners. Penalty cards may not be the subject of a team referral.
Any player on the pitch at the time of the incident may request a referral for their team. They must use the ‘T’ signal to alert the umpire and then confirm verbally what it is they want reviewed. The umpire calls the video umpire, who asks for replays from the available camera angles and gives the recommendation to the match umpire. The final decision always rests with the match umpire.
If a team referral is upheld, the referring team retains its right of referral. If the video footage is inconclusive, including through not having the correct angles available, the ball never being in shot in the replays, the footage being of insufficient quality to permit a decision or technical problems with the referral equipment, the referring team also retains its right of referral. If there is no clear reason to change the umpire’s original decision, the referring team loses its right of referral for that match.
The Referral System
A new recording and replay system for the video umpire will be in place in London. Normally, the video umpire room is in direct contact with the TV production truck to request the necessary replays. Due to the broadcasting system at the Olympics, this direct contact is not possible in London.
The technology for the replay system will instead be supplied by Hawk-Eye, a UK-based company that first made its name in cricket and has since diversified across other sports including tennis and now football.
The equipment that will be used in London is part of Hawk-Eye’s Sports Officiating system. Individual feeds from seven of the cameras are sent by fibre optic cable into the video umpire room, together with the live international broadcast feed. These feeds are synchronised to the exact frame and displayed as split screens on two monitors. When replaying an incident it is possible to see the crucial moment from a variety of camera angles at the same time. A controller enables the replays to be shown at any required speed including frame by frame. The Hawk-Eye system also has the option of a zoom facility for each individual camera angle. The video umpire views the selected replays until they have their advice and recommendation ready for the match umpire.
Please follow click here for the full Regulations of hockey for the XXX Olympic Games. See p45-47 for the video umpire appendix
Technology for the Umpires
As is usual at World events, the umpires will be using their Adeunis radios in London. These are similar to those used by UEFA and FIFA referees. The radios help establish a direct means of communication between umpires and prove valuable in improving teamwork and management of the game. It is also an essential requirement for video umpire, which needs instant communication.
The radios are ‘paired’ such that no one else can listen in or interrupt conversations. The two umpires have open microphones, enabling them to talk to each other. The umpires each wear a customised headset, with a personal earpiece. The reserve umpire and video umpire also have a radio, but with a push to talk button. Two systems listeners are used; one to send the audio from the match umpires to TV and the other interested parties, such as for PA purposes during referrals; the other can be used by the Umpire Managers in a listening mode only for coaching purposes.
There will also be match recording and logging from the live international broadcast feed in London. In the same way that the teams look at and review video, a ‘highlights’ video is available to each umpire from their matches within minutes of the final whistle. These can be used by all hockey umpires and umpire managers at the Games to review matches.
The ‘highlights’ include clips of specific areas of interest covered in the umpire briefings as well as all goals, penalty corners, cards and video umpire referrals. The clips are a coaching tool and enable umpires to look at incidents that they might wish to review. They are also to reinforce the umpires confidence that they invariably make correct decisions!
For the first time the logging will be carried out using Dartfish Connect + software, rather than the normal Sportscode. Logging is generally done by a dedicated logger in the Umpire Managers room. In addition to this in London, there is also the possibility for the Umpire Managers to log ‘live’ on an iPad from their seat in the stands. They can tag any specific incidents which they might wish to review with the Umpires during the post-match review session. Umpires can review their own ‘highlights’ clips on a viewing computer, but these can also be sent to their personal computers using a Dropbox system.
Use of the Dartfish software for logging purposes will enable any clips of interest for the publically available Dartfish FIH Rules of Hockey Video Library to be uploaded more easily.
Finally, each Umpire receives a DVD of their own matches, which they can review when they return home.
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