New technology proves its worth at final events
2016 was to see the EHF make considerable strides forward in the implementation of technology within the game.
Having already introduced goal-light and goal-line technology for the first time at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2013, the range of technological tools available to officials was expanded still further in 2016 with the first use of instant replay in EHF competitions.
The technology offers referees the possibility to watch a situation on a TV screen immediately if they were not able to see the complete action on the court and if they wish to check again before reaching a decision.
Crucially, it is only the referees and not a third official or delegate, who can decide that they wish to refer to technology to ensure that they reach the correct decision.
The German referees Lars Geipel and Markus Helbig were to be the first to use the technology, taking the opportunity to check the reply of the attack of Paris Saint-Germain in the 59th minute of the semi-final against Vive Tauron Kielce during which Kielce’s Tobias Reichmann was elbowed by Igor Vori.
Commenting after the match, Geipel, said: “We could use the technology for the first time and we were happy to have this technical support. Only by watching the instant replay we could make our decision. In general, I think that this device is a good tool,”
A big step forward for the use of technology in handball but bad news for Vori. He received a direct red card, followed by a one-match ban, missing his team’s match for third place at the event.
Technology first at EHF EURO
Following the positive use of technology in Cologne, the decision was reached to further expand its use to the next major EHF event, the Women’s EHF EURO in Sweden.
The event proved a fresh challenge for the technology provider, Handvision, with five venues and 47 matches over two weeks.
But even on the opening day the technology was already providing its worth. Instant replay came into action when the Netherlands Kelly Dulfer was shown a direct red card in the defeat against Germany after hitting Kim Naidziniavicius in the face following her shot on goal.
As two Dutch defenders were close to Naidziniavicius, referees Peter Horvath and Balazs Marton consulted the instant replay to confirm which player had hit the German.
With a special focus on the physical side of the game at the championship, the EHF’s referee chief, Dragan Nachevski, supported the referees’ use of the technology in this situation.
“There was no doubt about the direct qualification and in the end, the right player was suspended. It was a good example of how to use the instant replay as it has happened too often in the past that the wrong player was suspended,” he said.
Goal-line technology also came into action when Denmark beat Montenegro, 22:21, in Group C of the Preliminary Round. The referees called for it to verify that Majda Mehmedovic’s shot had in fact crossed the line as she reduced Denmark’s lead to one goal, 19:18.
“The referees were sure it was a goal but to be certain, they decided to check it once again,” confirmed Nachevski.
There was another first for handball at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in May 2016 with the introduction of the ‘ref cam’ in cooperation with the Spanish company, First V1sion.
Following the use of the ‘spider cam’, ‘overhead cam’ and ‘in-goal cam’ in the EHF’s coverage of the sport, the ref-cam provides a further unique view of the game for viewers at home and perhaps it may not be too long before we see the ‘player-cam’, ‘ref-cam’ or ‘coach-cam’ become an essential part of match coverage.
Behind the scenes in 360 degrees
The 2016 edition of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 brought with it a unique chance for fans to take a 360° tour behind the scenes of the event thanks to support from GoPro.
Through its investment in digital and its social media coverage, the EHF is constantly looking for new ways to bring fans closer to the action behind the scenes.
ehfTV commentator, Tom O’Brannigan and FC Barcelona legend Iker Romero, play host for the tour taking fans through the locker room, showing the arrival of teams and also the spectacular entertainment shows for which the event has been synonymous.