We use cookies

By continuing to browse ihf.info, you agree to our terms of use , privacy policy and the use of cookies. For more information, please review our cookie policy.



Date: 8/12/2012

Manfred Prause, Chairman of the IHF Playing Rules and Referees Commission (PRC), is highly satisfied with the performances of the 17 couples the IHF had nominated for the Olympic Games.

“After 72 of 76 matches we did not have any protest of any participating team, which speaks for itself. The fact that the losers are not always satisfied with the referees is normal and we will never be able to change that,” said the German on the day of the women’s final.  For Prause, the preparation is the key to this success of referee performances. “All couples have whistled nearly in the same line, no matter if they are from Europe or any other continent. This is a great step for the development.”

Prause underlines that 16 of the 17 nominated couples are Olympic newcomers, as only one couple had been officiating matches at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Four of 17 couples come from outside Europe, two women’s couples (from France and Romania) had been nominated, with Bonaventura/Bonaventura (FRA) even whistling a men’s match. Part of this referee group is one British couple, which had been prepared in special courses for the past two years. “They had been nominated for one match and did a really good job,” Prause is satisfied with the host’s referees.

The IHF and especially the PRC members rate the outcome of the referees’ performance as a success for the Global Referee Training Programme (GRTP), in which nearly all couples had taken part before the Olympics. Despite the fact that 16 couples are Olympic newcomers, they had proved their performance level at senior World Championships before.

The preparation of the referee group was divided into three parts: Fitness training, refereeing and technical work. All referees were handed over an individual training programme including weekly plans as part of their fitness training. All information about their training but also additional information like their weight had to be reported in a journal, which was checked by the PRC before the start of the Olympic Games.

In close cooperation with the national referee commissions and the PRC all Olympic referees analysed their performances and had to write reports about their practical work in both men’s and women’s competitions.

Besides, video analyses were used from the referees’ but also their colleagues’ matches. All nominated referees had to be up to date with the current rules and rules interpretations. Additionally educational material for the referees was gathered in national and international courses and symposia.

For all those tasks, but especially on the fitness training, the PRC gave a constant and individual feedback in the preparation stage.

The last steps of the preparation included a special mental and psychological programme focusing on courage, self-confidence, personality and body language. In order to fulfil the task of an Olympic referee high requirements concerning the attitude on the court were implemented.

The general requirements:

Courage: be brave enough to make rather unpopular decisions

Self-confidence: Have confidence in your own abilities regardless of the influences from on and off the court. Uncertainty puts referees under stress.

Personality: Referees who enjoy a good reputation among all parties involved do have personality. They are capable of creating a good atmosphere, even when the situation gets tricky. Their body language proves their personality.

In their mini course in London right before the start of the Olympic Games the major topic was Rule 8 and the interpretation of the progressive punishment from warning to direct disqualification. But another motto was “don’t search for punishments” and to give a quick two-minute suspension if needed despite a yellow card.

The referees were encouraged to punish hard actions against the health of the opponent by disqualifications directly and to consequently punish pushing during counter-attacks with a two-minute suspension. No yellow card for attacks against throat, neck or face – the correct punishment is at least a two-minute suspension or more.

As a lesson from previous events offensive fouls were discussed and analysed including a video presentation from the Women’s World Championship in Brazil. The PRC set a special focus on tasks like incorrect blocks, jumping into a defender in ball possession, “sweeping” the path with the arm or hand or provoking offensive fouls.

In their preparation for the Olympic Games the PRC also put the interpretation of the step rules in the spotlight. Certain situations shown in video clips and the following referee decisions were discussed and explained, with a special focus on the way non-European teams play.

Another advice for the referees was to avoid unnecessary interruptions, for example due to pretended injuries or a wet floor. The referees were reminded to make sure that the treatment of an injured player should not be done on the court if not needed, and that the floor should be mopped during attacks if possible, avoiding interruptions of the game. Provoked game interruptions shall be punished as unsportsmanlike behavior.

As part of the mini course in London four referee couples explained their personal preparation for the Olympic Games including an analysis of their activity reports.

During the Olympic Games the new guidance and coaching project worked, too. Instead of long daily meetings with all referees and delegates an individual coaching and a short in-between-session daily briefing was implemented and became a success.

 Additionally each referee is observing certain matches and supports the officiating referees with pre- and post-match analyses. The PRC used the TV live signal and the Dartfish technology to analyse the matches, and directly produced video sequences for further educational material.

And technical devices like headsets had made their way to the refereeing long before the Olympics in London. The official at the table is in steady contact with the referees, not influencing the match, but supporting the referees in case of controversial decisions.