Final four of Champions League is likely to turn into a milestone in the history of Volleyball. The innovative system gradually developed in Poland whereby the decisions of the referees may be challenged by the teams will be adopted also in the last act of Europe’s most elitist club competition.
Similarly to the “hawk-eye” computer system used in tennis, cricket and other sports, by using the support provided by some special slow-motion cameras installed at different locations around the area of play as well as on the net, the team captains will have the possibility to challenge – only twice per set – the decisions of the referees. If the team asking for the challenge eventually wins it, two chances will remain at their disposal for the remainder of the concerned set. Moreover, once the decision of the referees is challenged, the video footage will be reviewed by the second referee and the captain of the “challenging team”.
The system has been successfully tested and implemented in the PlusLiga, i.e. Poland’s highest division. While last year it was used only for the matches of the Playoffs as they were all televised, such special cameras are being used also for all matches of the regular season.
Having traveled this weekend to Poland to start the preparations for the final four, the President of the European Cups Commission, Riet Ooms, enjoyed the opportunity to attend the match starring the local heroes of PGE Skra BELCHATOW and AZS Politechnika WARSZAWA where the above system was being processed. She could testify that via that challenge a very important rally was eventually assigned differently than as per decision of the referees as the score stood at 23:22 in the third set of the game that ultimately finished in a 3:2 win for PGE Skra. “I am really positively impressed by the system” says Mrs. Ooms. “It helps control emotions and nervousness out there on the court. The players stay cool and on the other side the referees are always sure that finally the right decision is being made. Additionally, the system does not influence the normal pace of the game as all discussions are quite quickly finalized” she stressed. Mrs. Ooms confirmed that the President of the European Refereeing Commission, Jan Rek, will visit Poland very soon together with two of the referees nominated to officiate at the final four in order to get a better understanding and knowledge of the system.