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Was the World League Finals a Legitimate Match?

Was the World League Finals a Regular Match?

Allegedly, there was a mistake in the final match of the World Championship. Even though the Romanian referee, Adrian Alexandrescu, tried to save the current champions. The Hungarians turned to FINA because they expect consequences.

As waterpolo.hu reports, in the final game of the World Championship, there was a referee mistake. And it affected water polo play in general, especially the Hungarian team. Additionally, the chairpersons of the Hungarian Water Polo Organization, Péter Molnár (inspector), Balázs Székely (referee) and dr. Marosvári Attila (referee) have been consulted.

They have watched the match recordings from Szabolcs Tóth several times. After the examination, there was no question of a problem, they claimed. To clarify, it was possible to protest half an hour after the end of the match, but the long ceremony prevented it, they say.

Finally, they have decided to speak, addressing the issue to FINA. They have done it primarily to raise awareness of the inspectors and referees getting possibly punished.

But what exactly happened?

As you can see in the video, four seconds before the end of the halftime, the match is stopped and an exclusion happens. Even though the game time is stopped, Argentine referee, German Moller, excludes Bence Bates (Hungarian side) and Vladan Spaic (Montenegrin side).

According to the rules, the players should be excluded with the right of replacement. But, as you can see, the match continues with 5v5, instead 6v6, which the rules imply. This is considered a violation of water polo rules.

Even if the exclusion happened during play time (as it seems to be the referee’s decision) by the time the quarter ended, there wasn’t a shot at the goal, nor was there a change of the ball possession. The next problem occurred in the third quarter. It started with 6v6, instead of 5v5, and this situation was decided by the referee and the secretary of the game during the half-time pause. Why?

Additionally, in the match protocol, it’s stated that time-out bay Montenegro was called at 00:04 of the second quarter and the exclusion time for this players is also marked at 00:04 of the second quarter. It is unclear how this was stated as foul during the play. Also, in the same protocol was stated that at 00:01 there has been a steal by the Hungarian goalie Nagy and the video pretty clearly states it did not happen.

The game ended before Nagy touched the ball. There could be a presumption that he would have taken it, but there is no presumption situation in the rulebook, so there was no change of the ball position before the end of the quarter. This “mistake” in the protocol is exclusively under game secretary’s control.

The delegates/evaluators for this game were Manuel Ibern and Mark Koganov, who are the president and viyce-president of FINA-TWPC.

It is worth mentioning that, in the third quarter, referee Alexandrescu recorded a very similar foul (in-game) between Janovic (MNE) and Angyal (HUN) as the exclusion with replacement.

The Hungarians thirst for justice, claiming that “this is not what water polo deserves.”

To back up their thought, the Hungarians are calling on FINA’s rule 22.13:

WP 21.13 To be guilty of misconduct, including the use of unacceptable language, aggressive or persistent foul play, to refuse obedience to or show disrespect for a referee or official, or behavior against the spirit of the Rules and likely to bring the game into disrepute. The offending player shall be excluded from the remainder of the game, with substitution after the earliest occurrence referred to in WP 21.3, and must leave the competition area.

[Note. If a player commits any offence mentioned in this rule during the interval between periods, during a timeout, or after a goal, the player shall be excluded for the remainder of the game and a substitute shall be eligible to re-enter immediately prior to the restart of the game as all these situations are considered to be interval time. Play will restart in the normal manner.]

What could be done?

There is an option to report this kind of mistakes right after the game. If the Hungarians were to report this up to half an hour after the match, the match would be annulled and a rematch would be played. Additionally, the referees would be punished. Though they claim that the ceremony was too rushed and quick for them to react.

And it’s needless to say that this would shake FINA’s reputation in water polo — the reputation which is not standing very well at the moment.

Right now, Hungarian’s mission is to draw attention to the fact that referees clearly make mistakes without any consequences. Their statement will soon be on FINA’s table, and we will see how the situation plays out.

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