Spot The Mistake

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Volleyball is, on balance, a fairly easy sport to officiate.  The teams are separated, the actions are fairly predictable and the view of the referees is relatively unimpeded.  Still, every so often something happens in a game that is so unexpected that a referee misses it.  And if the ‘offending’ team is smart (obviously depending on your point of view on sportsmanship and gamesmanship) about it, you can get away with stuff.

Here is a clip from the 2014 Men’s World Championship.

See if you can spot the error.

And why the referee (and everyone else) missed it.


  1. I saw it! 🙂

    But of course I was looking for it. Still, if one of the refs was paying attention after the play he might have figured it out before the next serve.


      1. Surely one of the Italian assistant coaches would have noticed the incorrect rotation on the Italian side?


  2. I have done it before, but usually you switch back right away after the serve! They forgot!! Veteran players on that team, i love it!


  3. There is also a rotational fault at the start if I have worked out the rotation correctly. Iranian player 2 in position 4 appears to behind the libero in position 5. The R1 has compounded the referee but not noting that the setter #4 and the opposite #10 have swapped positions. A good teaching example for the referees on how one error can compound things later on.


  4. A lot of smoke and mirrors from Iran, the double sub was clutch right when Italy was figuring it out. Pretty sweet stuff. Sportsmanship? Gamesmanship? Hmmm, I would say that this is up to the refs to call. The old hate the game not the player.


  5. The referee should know before the rally if the setters on both team are FR or BR! The cout would have picked it up!


    1. Players on this level, do not make these kind of “mistakes”, so the referee was caught off guard.
      Referees in middle leagues would not have missed this bullshit.


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