Thanks Eurosport

I’d like to publicly express my thanks to Eurosport for authorising to use the clips of the games broadcast on the player.

Foul Canceled

13white in the act of shooting is fouled by 50red, while 22white pushes the 10red in rebound situation. The lead ref calls two times: one personal foul (P) on 50red and one unsportmanlike foul (U) to 22white. The ref signals the two fouls: P and U and the intention to review the U foul on the IRS. After the reviewing of the play referee informs coach red of his decision and then signals again to the officials table the foul by 50red, correcting the first wrongly signal for a foul by 10red (2 free throws), after he have canceled the U foul by 22white; the game resumes with two free throws by 13white with players line up.

  • When the foul to 22white is called the ball is dead
  • A personal foul is a player illegal contact with an opponent, whether the ball is live or dead (RB 34.1.1); An unspotmanlike foul is a player contact … ° Excessive, hard contact caused by a player in an effort to play the ball or an opponent (RB 37.1.1 2nd dot – C2)
  • The IRS can be used to decide before to sign on the scoresheet: … During any time of the game – wheter a personal, unsportmanlike or disqualifying foul meet the criteria for such a foul shall be upgraded or downgraded or shall be considered a technical foul (RB 46.12 3rd dot 3rd line)
  • The foul reviewed even if not occurred cannot be cancelled (FIBA OBRI 46-11) in case the contact not occur the U foul maybe downgraded to a P or T foul in case of fake or swinging elbow without contact (FIBA OBRI 46-10)
  • The FIBA OBRI 42-3 mustn’t be applied cause the first and the second foul are on two different players and not on the same player in the act of shooting (the ball didn’t become dead).

We can not see the IRS images examined on the court, but only the imeages transmitted by Eurosport. The contact caused by 22white seems useless and near the shoulders/neck of the 10red, the ball is dead (or “very close to die” when the contact occurs). The contact called U mustn’t be downgraded and the initial decision should be confirmed. The game should resume with 2 free throw by 13white with no players line up, then two free throws for 10red and possession of the ball red at the throw-in line with 14” on the clock shoot.

Many people ask us if the U foul maybe downgraded to P foul; rules book provides that it can be done (RB 46.12 3rd dot 3rd line), but when the foul is downgraded it cannot be cancelled by the scoresheet (FIBA OBRI 46-11). In case of downgrading the U foul to P foul the game resumes as follows:

  1. If 22white foul is less or equal than the 4th white team penalty in the quarter the penalty for the personal foul by 22white will be a throw-in for red team. The game resume with two free throws for 13white no players line up. Even if the last free throw is scored or not the red throw-in from the base line in back court is from the designated throw-in place.
  2. If 22white foul is more than the 4th white team penalty in the quarter the penalty for the personal foul by 22white will be 2 free throws for 10red. The penalty is equal to the one for the foul by 50red on 13white. Both penalties are equal and shall be canceled; because at the moment of the first infraction the ball was in white team control, the game resume with a throw-in from the offensive base line in white front court with the seconds showed on shot clock at the moment of the first infraction called.

Rules ranks fouls: personal, unsportmanlike, disqualifying in a graveness stair (by damage and by sanction) IRS protocol allows to reclassify the foul up or doun this stair, without necessarily doing step by step. As you read we may jump from P to D and the other way around without going through U, in some cases P/U/D may be turned in T but a foul reviewed on the IRS cannot be canceled!

Copyright of the clip: Eurosport


Within the basket!

00:12.2 in the 4th quarter Red 87-85 White. The second free throw by 22white bounce on the ring when 8white taps the ball in the basket. Trail and centre refs grant 2pts for tie the game. The game clock starts late and stops after 2.9”. The referees stop the game and they go to the official’s table to review the play at IRS monitor. After some reviews and one minute they correct the value of the basket in 1pt. Red Coach requests a time-out and after it the game resumes with a throw-in red in frontcourt with 00:12.2 on the game clock.

This is a very interesting situation with many articles of the rules involved. The decision of the referees even if should be shared according to common sense is totally in crash with the rules. Let’s proceed with order:

  • The offensive player can tap the ball within the basket – isn’t goaltending
  • The tap by 8white is legal, the clock must start!
  • A part of the ball is inside the Basket when 8white taps!
  • The value of the basket is 1pt, because the ball is already within the basket!
  • According 2pts instead 1pt is a correctable error!
  • The refs can’t review IRS to establish if the basket counts 1 or 2pts!
  • The IRS protocol allows the review only for 2 or 3pts basket! (FIBA must think to change it)
  • The game clock must be stopped when the ball exit from the net!
  • The refs may review IRS to establish the time elapsed from the tap by 8white to when the ball exit from the net!
  • The time on the game clock must be correct – not 00:09.3, neither 00.12.2
  • The referees must change the value of basket from 2 to 1pt if the error is discover!
  • The game resume with red throw-in at the throw-in line in frontcourt and 14” on the shot clock!

So if the result is partly correct, 1pt granted to team white, we think that the way followed to take the final decision is not correct. Referees must know the rules and they must use them, although sometimes the rules go in an opposite direction from then common sense or sense of justice. Referees may doubt of the value of the basket and they have to match themselves on what’s happened; they also can review IRS to establish the correct time to play, then decide to correct the erroneous awarding of a point and correct with the help of IRS the elapsed time of play. If during the review of the play they add new information (confirm) that the ball was inside the basket or not the decision will be more correct. We think it would be necessary: by FIBA, to correct and explain better the IRS protocol, that now is full of holes and traps; by referees, to know better rules and protocols, and to use one or both when it’s allowed!

Last but not least: the TV commentator told their (wrong) opinion, then they change opinion, but they explain the rule wrongly; is not allowed to any person, like the man behind the table looking the IRS monitor, to suggest the value (1pt) of the basket!


Many people wonder about what’s going through the mind of a referee when he calls something that didn’t happens or miss an infraction that everyone sees. You can smile or fall in desperation depending on the angle of your sight. Talking about an evaluation error, in some cases, might be paradoxical, often the difference between perception of reality (decision) and what really happens unfortunately it’s huge.

Perception is a process of elaboration of sensorial data coming from outside and their translation in complex information to be entrusted to “cognitive functions”. This is not a passive answer, fragmented, automatic, but an active and direct organization of data. Referee must manage many complex situations, in which data arrives through eyes and ears, in a three-dimensional space and as a function of time: the real marked by the clocks; the emotional conditioned by the mood; the one of perception of the objects wich moves around and how fast they change the position.

This complex process request the ability to express hypothesis (not to guess) about what happens, the elaboration of all data, associated to knowledge and experience produce choices, sometimes simple and immediate, other times complex therefore slower. At any choose should match a decision: call-no call, possibly connected with reality. Anyway in the game occurs situations which overcome the human perceptive limit, an help may arrive by the review of TV shots, but the limits imposed by the IRS protocol or by the two-dimensionality of TV images, are unable to dispel all the doubts.

At any level of officiating should match a degree of knowledge and ability to manage the largest part of the situations, It could be enough to stop for a moment, to understand what’s happens around; the teamwork increases different point of sight, from comparison should germinate the seed of equity. The main matter is to understand to have committed a blunder, and if it possible to correct it! Turn a blind eye, push ahead, sell the call, not to ask or to listen, may be an immediate analgesic, but without a specific care, in a short time the pain come back, probably harder.

The clips shows a crescendo of wrong perceptions, subjective, where the interpretation and the consequent choose leads to a, objective, wrong decision. The “physical” proxemic of the call and the signal subtract lucidity and self-critical capability; contribute to inhibit a possible help by the mates, but above all didn’t convince nobody! If not yourself.

Today the web and the television rebounds immediately the images worldwide, often with the intent to expose the actors to the public derision. Once again we try, with our rereading, to give ideas and suggestions to limit or correct the wrong perceptions, always within the rules. Understand and develop efficient knowledge and strategies to not confuse our perceptive system and cause it to fall into error. Gain the skills about the method of perceiving the external world regarding the available tools. To be able to perceive reality not only from a subjective point of sight, but also from an objective side, in the awareness that’s all is relative and has not universal value. To grow up by overtaking yourself, shifting your own limits ahead, modifying the sights angles on ourselves and others, by boosting the changing.

Clip 1 – Goal tending, interference

The 24white shoot is blocked by 0blue in his upward flight and before the ball has touched the backboard is sanctioned as a violation of GT/I from the centre ref. The call arrives in lagging behind the legal play of 0blue. The “strength” signal by the centre ref, turns off the correct evaluation of the trail ref who make a nod of assent with his head, to endorse the legality of the 0blue block shoot. During the dead ball a communication by the trail ref to his mate could repair the mistake, but may lack courage to help and correct the mate? Cancelling the wrong decision the ball will be awarded to the blue team, indicated by the possession arrow, but the basket wrongly awarded would be correctly cancelled. We don’t know if the blue coach asks for a review of IRS, opportunity not granted in that moment of the game.

Clip 2 – travelling violation

Few seconds left on the game clock, blue team is trailing by 2, 11blue jumps for a 3pts shoot, but 6yellow, although late, close the shooting space with the left arm, 11blue to not take the block shot and not having time to pass the ball, let it fall on the floor. Releasing the ball after have lifted the pivot foot 11blue has committed travelling violation. The trail ref, well placed, after have lifted the right arm to signal the attempt but miss the travelling call, then he bends over his legs and indicate with the two joined arms an imaginary point on the floor. 11blu regain the ball and release another 3pts shoot to win, but the ball bounce on the ring and the game ends. You can see in the background the centre ref who after reporting him too the 3pts attempt, drops his arm, probably comforted by safe expression of his mate, closest to the play, he decide for a no call and lift shyly half arm on the 2nd 3pts attempt. The play of 11blue is not a fumble, an eventual touch of the ball by the leg of 6yellow after the release of the ball by 11blue mustn’t change the evaluation on the violation committed. Missing the call, no decision can be taken to correct the mistake – imagine if the second attempt enters the basket? – you can only apologize!

Clip 3 – Offensive foul

Fast break 2white stops in the paint and release a shoot, while the ball enters sweetly in the net, the lead ref calls an offensive foul to 2white, guilty to have pushed 6red, and cancel the basket. The great emphasis put in the call and signal decrease lucidity and concentration, it would be enough to stop for a moment to understand that nobody has understood! 6red is convinced that he makes the foul, except then to realize reality and distance themselves with his mates. No help arrives from the other referees, turned off by the signal sureness of the lead ref? Mostly from the centre who accompany the fast break slowly, guilty in late. A brief analysis of the play, by the crew, or only an answer about the moment of the contact related to the shoot, could have light on the “lamp” to correct the error. The foul called couldn’t be cancelled, but since the contact occurs after the ball was released the 2pts must be granted. The game resume, after recording the foul and the basket on the scoresheet, with a throw in from the end line for the red team following a successful basket – white team hasn’t finish is penalties in the period – with 24” on the shot clock.