Sunday 6 January 2008

9th World Squash Refereeing Conference

The 9th World Squash Refereeing Conference was recently held in Chennai during the World Men's Team Squash Championships.

The two-day conference, this year entitled Towards World-Class Refereeing: A Program For Improvement, attracted officials from across the world ...

The itinerary featured a number of sessions on consistency when officiating. Inconsistency riles players of any sport, but squash suffers particularly from disagreements where a player feels a decision has been made where the officials are unsighted (due to the position of the referee and the marker in the back wall seating, the ball and players' bodies are often obscured).

The most significant development in officiating the sport over the past year or so has been the re-introduction of the 3-referee system. This appears to have been a success with players and officials alike (though has not yet been rolled out across all PSA and WISPA events) and has ironed out some refereeing inconsistencies.

To a spectator, the officials seem to do an amazing job, and are generally treated with respect by the players. However, players themselves have voiced opinions on the need for a greater professionalism attached to the job of being a squash official, and it is true that altercations between players and officials can often look uglier than they are when magnified in the goldfish bowl of a glass show court.

This can give squash a disproportionately bad image, especially when compared against a sport like football, where the players give the officials all manner of abuse, which the spectator conveniently ignores as they either cannot hear it above the crowd noise or are distracted by other things happening on the pitch.

It would be interesting to explore how other technologies could be used to assist the officials when making certain decisions. Lets/no-lets require the subjective interpretation of experienced officials, but proving whether a ball was down or not could surely benefit from a technological solution.

The minutes of the conference do not yet appear to be on the WSF website - comment to follow when they appear.

9th World Squash Refereeing Conference

1 comment:

  1. USing the 3 refs needs more trialling before it can be used across the board. It needs to be used in the really big tournaments to see if the players respect it.


Feel free to comment anonymously or leave your name.

Care about the future of squash? Get it off your chest ...