The Slow March Towards Referees

WFDF, the international governing body for Ultimate, made a pretty significant rule change for 2013: non-players can “assist” players on up/down and in/out calls. Why? A lot of time players don’t have good perspective on those kinds of calls. But if you’re going to allow that, why not just add observers for those decisions, even if they don’t get to rule on foul calls?

Robert “Nob” Rauch, the President of WFDF, told Ultiworld in August that the organization stands firmly against observers. But invariably there will arise a situation in which a player is clearly out to everyone on the sideline, but will call himself in. Outrage ensues. But there’s no recourse. Eventually, teams will want line calls made by a third-party.

This slow drip towards more and more powers for third-party arbitrators is already happening in the United States and Canada. Look at the crazy stall seven incident from the Mid-Atlantic Regional final. It makes no sense that the observers can’t intervene in that situation.

Many players who have played in the AUDL are big proponents of referees. This will continue to push the highest levels of the sport towards full officials. It’s just a matter of time.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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