As some of you may be planning to watch the match on NBC rewind, please click “read the rest” for the story.
[b]French Protest Following Double Overtime Loss is Rejected by IHF[/b]
The French Handball Federation filed an official protest following their double overtime 32-31 loss to Russia and sough a replay of the match. This protest was rejected by the IHF and France will now play for 5th place
Specifically, the French protested two calls made by the Chinese referees. The first claim relates to the free throw awarded to the French as time expired in the first half of the 2nd overtime period. The complaint is that the free throw call was too slow and that the Russian were allowed two changes in personnel after time expired. Previously, this was allowed and team would always send in their tallest players to form the wall at 6 meters. This rule has since been changed to not allow substitutions.
The second claim was that a free throw should have been awarded a the very end of the game when Veronique Pecqueux-Roland was fouled. The French Federation reports that a decision will be made by Noon on Wednesday.
The plays in question can be reviewed at the NBC website. Additionally, after the match French head coach, Olivier Krumbholz can be seen complaining to the IHF Chairman of Playing Rules and Competition (PRC), American Christer Ahl. The audio is hard to hear, but sounds like “Incroyable!…They’re professionals; working for all year for this….”
[b]Commentary: [/b] The French appear to have a case for the first complaint as the substitutions shouldn’t have been allowed. Shorter players on the wall can make a difference as was proven in the Denmark-Russia match. The second claim is strictly a judgment call and from my perspective it may have been a 9 meter, but it also could have been a charge. Together, these calls do not warrant a replay, which would be totally impractical anyway. When would you play it and how fair would it be with the other semifinal team resting?
Underlying all of this, however, is a legitimate question as to why a pair of Chinese referees officiating such a critical match. China does not have a strong handball tradition and by inference it’s usually a good assumption that correspondingly, the officials from a non traditional handball nation are not as good and lacking in experience. This is, of course, an inference and there are exceptions to this rule of thumb. I haven’t watched the whole match, so I can’t rate their overall performance. Bogdan Pasat, however, saw the entire match and felt that the Chinese pair actually did a respectable job and made some good tough calls in the overtime period. His bottom line was that the officials were not a factor in the outcome of this match.
[b]NBC “rewind” of France-Russia Match:[/b] http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/player.html?assetid=1348182&channelcode=sporthb
[b]French notes on Protest: [/b]