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  1. #1
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    Default line judging : the dilemma.

    line judging : the dilemma

    in light of the controversy overshadowing the Asian Games Men's single team final between Indonesia and Korea. it was pretty obvious that there are significant "bias" of the korean linejudge towards their own nation's players. in particular, in the match between Taufik (IND) and Shon Seung Mo (KOR), there are numerous bad calls at crucial moments.

    not trying to single out any nation, there has been previous allegation of Chinese line judge biasing towards their own player during the Thomas Cup as well.

    that only makes us wonder if something needs to be done. having controversy like this is definitely bad for badminton, whose popularity has in recently years been dwindling. the last thing we need to hear is that international badminton tournaments are biased and unfair and provides no competition value to the players.

    among all the sports that requires line judging, badminton must be the only one in which the umpire has no say on the linejudges decisions. umpire are forced to accept the linejudges judgement. this may be ok as long as the linejudges are fair. which is probably the case when badminton first started life. badminton originated in England at the end of the 1800s. it is a sport that is played by the noblemen and being such ladies and gentlemen that they were, there probably has never been a problem.

    and it does make sense. when the umpire has no power to overrule the linejudge's decision, the players have no choice of complaint during a match. why does that make sense? if the players are allowed to appeal, poor sports will use that as a tactic to interrupt and delay the match, give themselves time to regain their fitness and potentially turn the game around. badminton has historically kept the game very "pure" and do not allow such out of court tactic to be used. the opposite would be games like basketball, where a "foul" isn't a foul anymore, but a tactic to interrupt the game.

    however, linejudges as we have seen, are not always very "professional". in quote because linejudge is hardly a profession. with the low budget that most tournaments are linejudges are usually volunteered and selected from the host country. with that, and the general fall in sportmenship and moral values in the recent times, adding onto the nationalistic tendencies, the linejudges are hardly fair anymore.

    so what can be done about it? while it is not very widely spread, we cannot let the problem persists, else we will leave a bad taste to the sport and badminton as a whole will be worse off.

    umpire power

    the quickest and easiest would be to first, allow the umpire to overrule the line judge. the umpire are trained and selected from a neutral country. they are normally very professional and is probably as unbiased as we can find. however, we cannot blind give more power to the umpire without trying to solve the potential problem. sometimes, the umpire can make mistakes too. in the case of linejudging, the umpire should be instructed to overrule only the very blatant bad call. if there is an inch or margin, overruling by the umpire will probably spark protests from the disadvantaged players.

    secondly, umpire should also be instructed to not let players protest for the reason of delaying the game. this is a judgement call, but if there is a really close call and a player protest, the umpire should probably concur with the linejudge and instruct the player to continue. if persist, perhaps a warning or yellow card should be given.

    electronic line judge

    this is an interesting one. but unfortunately, also a technologically difficult solution. especially since badminton courts are "mobile". tennis has used this extensively, however, we must realized that major tennis tournaments have fixed courts, they aren't gonna move the wimbledon center court around. so investment and installation of equipment is justifiable. that's just not the case for badminton. perhaps a portable unit with laser or some precision visual/optical sensor can be developed.

    replay

    in major tournaments, tv cameras are usually setup all around the court, a lot of the cameras are even setup at the court ends looking down a line. these will provide very accurate visual replay of the dubious calls. and if visual evidence is there, there is no chance for the player to protest. cameras and recording equipment are relatively easy to obtain and probably will be possible coordinating wth the camera crew. however, this also have the same delay tactic problem. and should only be used wisely by the umpire.


    line judging has become worse and worse of a problem in badminton. i believe in light of recent events and current technological advancement, it is time for reform and something needs to be done about it. it is up to the IBF to make a choice of what they want to do. it will have an impact on professional badminton, and let's hope it is a positive one.

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    Default

    Badminton after all is THE fastest racquet sport.

    The shuttle moves at incredible speeds with incredible changes of pace. For genuine mistakes, it can be difficult to keep concentration throughout the whole match. The human mind is bound to wander, daydream, watch the players.

    A human can make mistakes. It is well past time for linejudging to be pushed to the standards that the top players (and the fastest racquet sport in the world) require.

    Given the right public relations, I think this controversy can actually be used in crease awareness of badminton.

    i.e. news press stating badminton is really fast. give a video clip as an example for reporters to judge, then say what solutions has arisen from recent controversies.

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    Default

    This is a very interesting topic. Asian events are rarely broadcast here in the UK, the only time badminton is ever shown on TV is during the All England, Olympics or the Commonwealth games.

    replay

    in major tournaments, tv cameras are usually setup all around the court, a lot of the cameras are even setup at the court ends looking down a line. these will provide very accurate visual replay of the dubious calls. and if visual evidence is there, there is no chance for the player to protest. cameras and recording equipment are relatively easy to obtain and probably will be possible coordinating wth the camera crew. however, this also have the same delay tactic problem. and should only be used wisely by the umpire.


    I can tell you that during broadcasts of badminton games here in the UK, replay is used, as to whether the umpire uses the replay to decide on linejudging is unknown. I think that the same rules still apply that the umpire cannot overrule a line call from a line judge.

    The only time i can recall it ever happening was during the All England a few years back, Yoo Yong Sung and Lee Dong Soo of Korea Vs Chew Chen Eng and Lee Wan Wah of Malaysia.
    The linemens was unsighted on the serve as one of the players blocked their view, however the umpire seated much higher was able to see whether the shuttle fell in, in this case the shuttle had fallen on the line and the point was awarded to Korea.

    What needs to happen is for the rule book to be changed allowing for the umpire to overrule a line call, that coupled with technology, say a small tv unit situated by the umpires seat to watch replays of where the shuttle landed. This idea could actually replace the linemens job, no more biased line calls? Who knows eh?

    Of course this raises the issues of money, to be able to provide money so that the technology is always available during tournaments.

    From what i can see this issue may or may not be solved in the near future, but hopefully this will be sorted out sooner than later as the events of Korea and Indonesia has dented the ideals of fairplay in badminton.

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