The storm surrounding the brutality incident involving Ben Hallock during the quarter-final match against Hungary is far from calming down, and the story has now taken an unexpected turn. Referee Putniković, who made the contentious call on the brutality after reviewing the VAR footage, has been assigned to officiate the final match between Hungary and Greece.
The majority of the public agrees that there were no grounds for such a brutality call on Hallock, as it is evident on the VAR footage that there was back-pulling and an open palm. Take a look for yourself.
View this post on Instagram
On the other hand, two days later, no action has been taken for this situation.
It is not a problem for a referee to make mistakes, even with the help of VAR. Errors are an integral part of any job, and I’m not implying that Putniković doesn’t have the qualities to officiate at the top level. However, TWPC’s lack of public addressing and explanation of these decisions leaves us in the dark. How can we understand rewarding a referee who had a controversial call in favor of the Hungarian team by assigning him to officiate the final match?
The integrity of water polo is significantly affected by unclear rules and many possibilities for referees to interpret them differently in very similar situations. Decisions like this do not help build trust that everything is transparent and fair. The facts that the Chairman of TWPC is Hungarian and Budapest will become the new headquarters for World Aquatics really don’t help in this situation. These are the facts and not conspiracy theories. In such a situation, unnecessary suspicions are raised among the neutral water polo community.
The decision to have Putniković referee the final match puts immense pressure on him, making an already difficult job even harder.
It may also potentially diminish Hungary’s gold medal chances, as it will be overshadowed by the aforementioned facts. This great team doesn’t deserve that in any way.
Imagine how the Greek players and coaching staff felt when they heard this? They can only try to turn this situation into an opportunity by applying more pressure on the referees in any 50-50 situation. And this will turn the game into a disaster for fans, with a lot of yelling and whistling.
In any case, the final is already tainted with a bitter aftertaste due to the only decision that shouldn’t have been made.