Who has the last say on cancelling/ abandoning a game

Discussion in 'Game Management & Communication' started by controller, Dec 7, 2008.

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  1. controller

    controller FHF Legend

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    I am after some feedback.

    1. Who can request a match to be called off before it starts
    2. Captain requests that a pitch is dangerous what should the umpires do.
    3. After 50 minutes, 3 players injured due to slipping over, captain requests that the game be cancelled. 1
    umpire agrees but the other disagrees, advice.

    Thanks
     
  2. redumpire

    redumpire FHF All Time Great
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    Controller

    This will vary from league to league and competition to competition as different regulations will apply. Assuming that you're referring to a NW League game, the regs are as follows:

    I would interpret that to mean that it's the home team's decision before the game starts and the umpires' (joint) decision once the game has started. As for the umpires not agreeing, that's a tricky one! If I thought the conditions were dangerous and that I might be sued if the game continued and a player were injured I think I would simply say that I was no longer prepared to umpire even if my colleague wished the game to continue.

    If it wasn't a NW League game then other regs might apply. By way of an example, here are the relevant Slazenger EHL regs;

     
  3. controller

    controller FHF Legend

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    Thanks fro that red, that has answered some of questions.

    Though I am looking for some more answers as I am trying to prove something!
    Please others can I have your answers how you would deal with number 3.
     
  4. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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    As red said, if you're the umpire who believes the game should be called, walk off the pitch. It's a safety issue, period.
     
  5. Twister

    Twister FHF Regular Player

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    What they said!

    If it got to the point where I really thought it was dangerous to continue, I'd walk off the pitch. It's then your colleague's problem if he can't see the danger!
     
  6. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

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    What they said!

    There have been a couple of occasions when the players or the other ump thought we should postpone and I had to persuade 'em it was OK.
    In one case there was some frost at one end, which was clearly melting by the minute, and in the other we'd driven through foul weather for 2 1/2 hours to be told the (sand-based) astro was too wet. There were a few puddles and the 1st XI wusses had abandoned, but it had stopped raining and was obviously neither dangerous, nor getting worse.
    I had played on much worse grass pitches in both cases and was disinclined to waste the morning/whole day respectively.
    Playing among the puddles was a bit of a lottery but it was NOT dangerous.

    If I were an umpire or a captain(or a player) who considered a pitch too dangerous, nothing would get me to play or umpire on it, but I'd have to respect the opinions of others who disagreed.
     
  7. foozbear

    foozbear FHF Regular Player

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    I had a couple of situations regarding thunder storms.

    both captains and the other umpire were ambivelant to the approaching storm. I was doing the second trick to determine how close it was.

    at less than 3 km I called game....both teams looked at me and I walked off the pitch telling em...play if you want...get struck by lightning if you want...im not going to die tonight....and as if GOD himself heard a huge lightning bolt appeared very close and with thunder almost like a BOOM....

    lets say the players were nowhere near the pitch in 10 seconds.

    second time I called it without any problems in Toronto....seems Canadians value their lives more.

    I have called a game 5 mins into due to heavy snow...but that was obvious.

    what was the ground like before play? obviously it would show then.

    if I had a disagreement with the other umpire over danger conditions...id call the league rep....if they wernt available...Id say "I will not risk your lives on this" "if you want to play then thats your choice...I will not umpire"

    sometikmes safety is more important than players wishes.
     
  8. UmpireHockey.com

    UmpireHockey.com FHF All Time Great

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    Yup. And, if that was only the end of it. Here, umpires have the last say. If one umpire say no, the other umpire would have to say, okay and be willing to officiate alone.....just wouldn't happen. In my experience the governing body doesn't always stand behind their own regulations.

    For example, I canceled a game due to the length of the grass (six inches in many places, three inches where it was "short"). I was subsequently harassed with multiple phone calls from the league's director and threatening letters from the state association.

    When I said I canceled the game because the grass was too long I was actually told that an umpire can't cancel a game unless the field is dangerous. Uh, so I said the field was dangerous due to long grass.

    A friend who canceled a tournament game held by the same league was pulled off of up-bracket appointments from the same group that she had already accepted. She canceled the game because it was flooded.

    So, here it's completely up to the umpires....uh, yeah right.

    Cheers...Cris
     
  9. controller

    controller FHF Legend

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    OK, thank you.

    It has always been my opinion that the umpire have the last say with cancellation. I was not umpiring this weekend due to work commitments but I was outside for 14 hours working and not doing Dancing on Ice with some ego bashers from the world of TV who complained how cold it was and I have to agree with them it was reading -3 degrees centigrade where I was at 2.30pm. OK back to the game with the problems!

    In a game this last weekend, we had club umpires, though both umpires, do actually umpire on the list in the North league.

    At the start of the game, there was a questioned raised by the away captain about the frost that was coming down and at what point did the game become dangerous. Explained to them only at the start of the game and if deemed fit to start therefore the game should be finished. game started at 3.00pm

    Now at half time, another question about the danger with one team winning being the team that did not want to cancel.

    I have this understanding that players have to go to work the next day, so when players start injuring themselves when they are not playing the ball or no where near the ball, then there has to be a problem somewhere.

    Any how, a row starts between the Captains and Umpires and I believe a few words are said between the two umpires and one of the captains, the game ends up 2-1 to home side, 3 injuries to the away side, complaint is then gone into and the umpires walk off without signing sheets etc.

    One of the comments I got, was that the injuries were down to reckless play by the away side, the umpire stated that if they played like ladies they would not have to play so dangerously that the game would be playable. Now that to me, is an umpire who has lost control of his/her game and can not handle the pressure. Surely like all leagues and RED has stated this, the dreaded words, it is down to that particular league or competition rules who has the decision! Surely the umpires who are on site, umpiring the game have the final say if it non-playable.
     
  10. David_Underdown

    David_Underdown FHF Regular Player

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    It makes sense for it to be the home side before the match starts, since if the pitch is obviously unplayable from early in the day, they may be able to tell the opposition not to travel at all. Obviously, once the umpires are there, it makes sense to consult them, even if the game hasn't started, otherwise you could end up with the situation wehre the umpire blow the whistle to start the game, and then immediately abandons.

    Th eonly time I've ever actually been invovled in this was when it was so windy that the goals wouldn't stay put (they just about managed to finish the previous game by dint of the keepers for the next game holding on egoal in place). Since the wind was blowing straight down the pitch, the goal at the top end would have blown into the D if it moved, so there was an obvious danger.
     
  11. Goalie64

    Goalie64 FHF All Time Great

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    The game can be stopped at any time if conditions change, as red has said, but that it is the umpires decision. It would appear the umpires got that wrong by saying the game had to be completed.

    If I were the captain and I and my team believed the pitch was unplayable (for any reason and at any time in the game) them we would not continue.
    Safety is paramount.
    It is then up to the authorities to decide what should be done with the game.
    I would then phone the league to advise, and submit a report to the league (with the teamsheet and follow up by e mailing photos of the pitch conditions). If you are using a sports centre pitch you may well be able to get backup from duty staff. At our home pitch they have in fact always been the ones to call off a game

    As an umpire I've never had to make the call to stop a game - although I think would have done so last week in a BUSA/BUCS game. I had just done a couple of games, finishing at 17.30 and was then asked to do a third. The frost was coming down hard, and in my view was just about playable to start the game, but I'm sure I'd have called it off by half time - nothing to do with the fact I'd have been knackered by then.
    If that meant one umpire bring willing to stay on while I left if we could not agree - then that's their call
     
  12. johnreiss

    johnreiss FHF Top Player

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    No doubt the answer will vary form league to league deopending on local regs. Where I come from local league rules stipulate that; -

    1 The home team has the right to cancel a game if their pitch is thought to be unsafe. This is to prevent the away side from travelling if possible.

    2 The once players/umpires have arrived at the pitch the 2 captains can agree that the pitch is playable or not playable

    3 the 2 umpires have to make the final decision irrespective of 2 ( if the captains agree to play - ithe game can still be cancelled.) Also if the 2 captains agree it is playable but the umpires think it ain't the game is called off .

    4 lastly, if the 2 umpires cannot agree the game is called off.

    As everone has said at the end of the day its down to safety - if in doub't the pitch is unsafe and the game should therefore be called off or abondened .

    V. occasionally, a team that is losing heavily will try to get the game abandoned on some pretext, but there again it is down to the umpires. if one aggrees it is dangerous the game should be stopped

    The last scenario actually occured last week. 1 team were winning 8-0 when the loosing skipper suggested that the pitch was too hard! There was no ice no snow , no one hurt, no slipping = no danger = request ignored!!
     
  13. redumpire

    redumpire FHF All Time Great
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    With the greatest respect to you and everyone who posts on here Controller (including me) whoever you're trying to "prove" something to won't be (nor should they be) impressed by anything we post, for a number of reasons:

    1. They have no idea who we are. "Redumpire" could be anyone from a current FIH World and Olympic panel umpire (I wish!) to a bumbling idiot who hasn't watched a game in 20 years yet still feels able to pass comment on how woeful hockey is these days. Why should anything that "Redumpire" says make the blindest bit of difference to them?

    2. There are rules and regulations to cover these incidents. As there is nothing in the Rules of Hockey to cover this situation all that you can do is try to demonstrate that the relevant regulations were not followed appropriately. Once again, we can add little to that debate as we don't even know what competition the game was being played in, so have no idea what regs apply. The NW League regs that I have quoted above are sufficiently vague not to cover the situation you describe adequately, while those in John Reiss's last post cover it precisely. Whatever we say or think the relevant authorities will have to abide by their regs no matter how appropriate or inappropriate we think they may be.

    3. As I seem to say far too frequently on here, none of us were there and cannot, therefore, have any idea how bad the conditions were nor how reasonable the request to abandon the game was. The fact that 3 players were injured is irrelevant unless you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the injuries were down to a slippery surface and not poor footwear, tripping, poor lighting, physical play by opponents etc. That may well be a matter of fact but it's not one that any of us are in a position to comment on.

    I greatly admire your tenacity over issues such as this, and the fact that you are always willing to go the extra mile to support your team, but suspect that your "mission" may well prove fruitless...

    EDIT: PS. Is this post on TalkingHockey.net about the same incident...? Or is it just coincidence?
     
  14. Goalie64

    Goalie64 FHF All Time Great

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    red - I think it's a coincidence as I believe muppetkeeps plays in the East region.
     
  15. Bulsara

    Bulsara FHF Regular Player

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    Whilst I agree with the majority that is said here, I have been in this position twice in my life and both times had very different experiences.

    I will deal with the easy one first, huge thunderstorms, pitch flooded, lightening very close, the TD makes the call to come off. Very simple and sweet and no-one complains. Easy when you have a TD there and you are in the miiddle of a tournament.

    The other incident was very uncomfortable in that the two umpires agreed that the frozen pitch with sub standard lighting was unplayable. Simple to this point except we had a weak TD who refused to take the decision to come off the pitch, one of the teams had travelled 10000 miles to be there for training for a big tournament coming up and both captains wanted to continue. What now? Do you walk off the pitch and leave the match (easy to do on paper), do you continue and abide by the decision or non decision of the TD and get on with it (is it safe to do so?) or do you umpire with caveats to the players that they continue at their own risk?

    In most circumstances i would say make the decision get off the pitch and let the players worry about it, however, this is not always easy to do and requires 'balls' to do so if both captains want to continue. The only advice I would give is having gone through the situation do what your gut/heart says and be strong enough to carry out the decision and don't let yourself be swayed by anyone else. I was and i learnt my lesson.
     
  16. controller

    controller FHF Legend

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    coincidence - this was a ladies game, top of the table clash and every important fixture just before the Christmas Break.
     
  17. Goalie64

    Goalie64 FHF All Time Great

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    I take your point Bulsara, but in the litigious society in which we now find ourselves I think I would still have to walk off the pitch even in your second example.

    The match is one you describe as a training game ahead of a tournament.
    How come there was a TD at friendly fixture, but given that situation, could you not say "I don't feel it's safe, but if you can find umpires to replace me/us, then carry on"
     
  18. redumpire

    redumpire FHF All Time Great
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    Controller - that's an entirely different scenario from wanting to "prove" something! If you'd said you wanted to gain views to educate new umpires I would probably have replied differently. I thought you wanted to prove somebody wrong from the way you phrased your original question.

    If this is just about what an umpire should do when s/he thinks the pitch is dangerous, then my answer - despite Bulsara's reply, which describes a very difficult situation indeed - would be that they should express their unhappiness at continuing and then politely explain that they are not prepared to umpire because of the danger and the possibility of their being sued for negligence. If necessary they should also contact the league concerned to explain their actions. If on the other hand, they think that one captain is trying to "pull a fast one" by trying to get a game abandoned when the pitch is patently, playable they need to stand firm and say that the game will continue.

    I agree... up to a point. If there is an issue that merits discussion then I think that hearing everyone's views does enrich the debate and aid understanding; but if it's a black-and-white case that can be answered by a simple reference to the rules then we should stick with that. Hockey is a hard enough game to umpire without our ladling on extra levels of (unnecessary) complexity.
     
  19. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

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    And it is still a GAME...not brain surgery...no-one one will die if a decision is wrongly made to abandon the game(and who's to say it's 'wrong'?
    Even if you feel you have been conned by a losing team, you can go home knowing that you have erred on the safe side.
    As has been said, it is prudent to report your actions and reasons promptly to the league...they either trust you or a complaining team :rolleyes:

    As for six-inch grass Cris...you woz lucky..... we used to play if it wasn't above your knees (only kidding, but those who've played on grass pitches for a few years will have some tales to tell :eek: )
     
  20. Max Boyce

    Max Boyce FHF Newbie

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    In answer to Controller’s original question, the umpires are clearly responsible for decisions regarding the suitability of the pitch. On this occasion there was no dispute between the umpires and that’s why the game was played to a conclusion. The only dispute came from the coach and captain of the away team, and these only surfaced at half-time when they found themselves (perhaps coincidentally) two goals down. Indeed the game started in brilliant sunshine on an open pitch that is not over-shadowed by large buildings.

    During the second half the coach and captain continued their campaign to get the game abandoned. I did caution the captain about her reckless tackling and asked her to play responsibly. This is a duty of care that all players have and has nothing to do with playing “ladies hockey†whatever that is supposed to mean. Following this the game was played competitively to the end with the deficit being reduced to one goal. The final whistle saw the resumption of the pitch debate which Controller has needlessly continued here.

    There are clearly differences in Controller’s account (who was not present) and the umpires’ (who were). We saw no injuries. There was no disagreement between the umpires regarding the condition of the pitch and neither umpire refused to sign the match record.

    Although predicated on pure fiction it has been an interesting discussion. However I think most had already come to the conclusion that there is no reason for any umpire to continue a game which may lead to injury and possible litigation and indeed why would either team want to risk life and limb by playing on a dangerous pitch.

    In summary the umpires are the sole arbiters in such decisions and this forum should not become the sounding board for match decisions we don’t like.


    Max Boyce

    “I know because I was there€
     
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