Can the umpire overrule himself?

Discussion in 'Rules / Tournament Regulation / Officiating' started by pcll99, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. pcll99

    pcll99 Regular Member

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    Let's say the umpire called a fault.

    But one second later, he realised it wasn't a fault.

    Can he then overrule himself? Call it a let maybe?

    I just saw this happened in volleyball, but I have never seen it in badminton.
     
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  2. phihag

    phihag Regular Member

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    There is no explicit rule for an umpire making a mistake, but the ITTO imply it:

    In the situation you describe, the umpire should call a let, justified by the catch-all §14.2.7:

    In practice, an umpire overruling themselves will need to have a very clear reason to do so, as a changed decision can very easily create the appearance of partisanship and uncertainty.

    Typically, an umpire will overrule their own decision in one of three situations:

    1. The opponents agree that the umpire's first ruling was incorrect. Then both sides are in agreement, in the spirit of ITTO §1.3 ("the game is for the players") .
    2. The referee steps in and discusses with the umpire. Formally, per laws §17.6.8, the referee can only be called if there is a question about a rule, but in practice, referees are often called by the players/coaches nevertheless. Referees will only advise the umpire to overturn a ruling if the umpire's understanding of the rules was clearly mistaken.
    3. The service judge is absolutely certain that the umpire has made a mistake. The service judge will come to the umpire on their own volition. This has been the intention for quite some time, but has only been codified in early 2018 with ITTO §7.8.
     
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  3. pcll99

    pcll99 Regular Member

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    Thanks, I learned about this rule for the first time!!


    ITTO §7.8

    "The Service Judge shall back up the Umpire and assist the Umpire as required. The Service Judge shall contact the Umpire immediately if observing a potential mistake committed by the Umpire."
     
  4. GingerCorslette

    GingerCorslette Regular Member

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    @phihag, downside to this is that it falls to being subjective, right? Especially when calling faults on the 'striking shuttle before crossing your side of the net' rule. Umpires see their mistakes in the high definition, big screen etc, yet they never overrule. Or am I interpreting it altogether wrongly?
     
  5. phihag

    phihag Regular Member

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    If an obvious error has been made, the referee and service judge can, should, and hopefully will intervene, and provide the umpire cover.

    But if the umpire would start correct themselves on their own, you can bet that there will be a petition with thousands of signatures and a forum post here that call for the umpire to be penalized for being so obviously partisan.

    Some sports have a challenge system that uses slow-motion and another umpire off-court. That is one possible solution to the problem, but it costs a lot of money, in equipment, staff to set it up, additional umpires, and potential delays.

    In my opinion, incorrect non-line calls are sufficiently rare that there is no pressing need to have an additional layer of review if both service judge and referee fail.

    Every incorrect call is one too many and I wail internally whenever I realize I have probably made a wrong call (in my defense, it's much easier to make a wrong call if you have to decide all line calls from the chair). But I see incorrect decisions as a part of the game, just like the occasional gust of indoor wind that just nudges your shuttle out.
     
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