Hockey Ireland concede defeat over controversial video review which cost them Olympic spot

Hockey Ireland have conceded there's no further avenue of appeal they can pursue over the Irish men’s video nasty in the Olympic qualifiers last October in Vancouver.

Hockey Ireland concede defeat over controversial video review which cost them Olympic spot

Mark Tumilty’s side were beginning to celebrate qualification for Tokyo 2020 when Canada sent a seemingly spurious video review upstairs for an incident less than two seconds before the final hooter.

To shock across the hockey world, a scarcely believable penalty stroke decision came back from Diego Barbas – in just his second game as a video umpire – in the box.

Canada went on to score the stroke and won a shoot-out, punishing Ireland for not seeing out a healthy lead in both the two-legged tie and the shoot-out itself where they led 3-1 at one stage.

Captain Jonathan Bell expressed his frustration at the situation, saying Barbas “should hang his head in shame”.

Since then, Hockey Ireland have been pressing the International Hockey Federation (FIH) over the legitimacy of the video review system in place.

The FIH had stated at the time a minimum of six camera angles were required for these events, adding “the video umpire has access to camera angles which may not be on the live broadcast”.

Reports from the ground initially suggested there were only five cameras in situ. The expertise on the ground was also a concern with the local directors and production team having little experience of field hockey.

To date, despite calls for all footage to be released, only one angle of the incident has been made available with suspicions it was the sole one used in the review process.

Certainly, the reverse-angle view was not available with cameras redeployed to face the respective benches for final-whistle reaction images while the action was too wide for the camera above the goal to capture.

Hockey Ireland sought clarification over these issues but feel they have reached a brick wall.

“To date, the FIH has been unable to provide adequate response to the queries raised,” a statement read.

“It is Hockey Ireland’s understanding that at present there are no such specific regulations/minimum standards in relation to the setup and delivery of the Video Referral system in hockey.

“Hockey Ireland are of the view that the broadcast quality and number of camera angles available in respect of the qualification series were not of a level to facilitate Video Referral.”

But, given the lack of regulations in place, Hockey Ireland admit they have “no grounds on which to challenge the FIH” and so conclude they have “exhausted all avenues in respect of a potential appeal”.

Hockey Ireland is calling on the FIH to review their minimum standards “as a matter of urgency” and commission an independent, cross-sport review to mitigate against future problems.

The match proved the last international game for both Eugene Magee and Chris Cargo, a heartbreaking end for two legends of the Irish game.

In Ulster, meanwhile, the adult women’s leagues look set to be abandoned this year as no suitable hall was booked for this coming Sunday.

Ards, Armagh, Coleraine, Lurgan, North Down and Queen’s were all due to take part but were informed on Monday evening of the event’s cancelation.

Should no alternative venue be found, Ulster will provide no qualifier for the National Indoor Trophy. The province has provided the winner for 10 of the last 11 years.

These are the last available dates due to the Irish women’s side playing in the European Championships next week and the national trophy will be played on February 2.

The Ulster indoor men’s and youth leagues will go ahead as scheduled.

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