Or How To Cheat The Video Challenge System
A few days ago I wrote about the CEV Champions League Final Four and commented on a specific decision made using the Video Challenge System. To summarise, Tetyukhin spiked a ball down the line that was called out. He immediately challenged the call which was sustained. There were two strange things that happened in relation to the situation. Firstly, after all other challenges they showed a photo of the ball landing as evidence of the call. In this single case they did not. Secondly, the TV replays showed that the ball was very far inside both the sideline and the baseline.
I was having a conversation with someone about how it could be possible when I suddenly remembered the Cyclops system that was used for many years in tennis. This system used infrared beams to cover the area just outside the service line. When the beams were broken, the serve must have landed out. The system had a weakness though. If the ball was 50cm out, the beams were not broken and occasionally, if noone noticed, a serve that was clearly out was called in.
I have a suspicion that might be what happened in Ankara last weekend. The camera is so close to the line that the operator did not have the ball in his picture. As the linesman had called out, they assumed the ball was not in picture because it was so far out. And they didn’t show the photo on the broadcast because the ball wasn’t in the frame, ie there was nothing to see.
So the lesson is, if you are a line judge and want to cheat the video challenge system, don’t try it on close calls, but on ridiculous ones. If the referee doesn’t directly overrule, you are home free.
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