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Monday, August 2, 2021

Comment: PSA must use TV technology

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Chicago decision robs Nick Matthew of a winner but TV replay would have helped referees

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Nick Matthew flicks the ball crosscourt
Nick Matthew flicks the ball crosscourt against Ramy Ashour

The major talking point from yesterday’s Windy City Open semi-final between Nick Matthew and Ramy Ashour is not their extraterrestrial level of squash or the world number one’s injury. It’s how the PSA refuses to use the technology at their disposal to help the game.

You know which governing body is the most hated in all of sports? It’s FIFA, the one responsible for this planet’s most loved sport, football.And what did FIFA do to deserve this reputation?

They allowed their beautiful game to be made to look ugly time and time again because of bad calls which and not using the available technological solutions to review.

Did the ball cross the goal-line? Of course it did. But the referee and linesmen somehow missed it. Why not take 60 seconds to look at the video replay, then?

Sepp Blatter never seemed to come up with a good answer for that one, and that is why he is not respected at all by footie fans. Why is this even important in a squash context? Because PSA is acting in a very similar manner on this issue.

In yesterday’s Matthew-Ashour semi-final, at 9-9 in the second game, Matthew hits a brilliant cross-court drop that catches Ramy flatfooted. Matthew won the point, but the refs were not sure about the ball being good. A let ball was the verdict.

It was so frustrating to England’s world number one that he went as far as telling the referees they were questioning his integrity and honesty with the call.

While he was in the middle of that short sentence, we, the SquashTV viewers, already knew the ball was good. One replay sufficed as proof.

Matthew still could not get over the decision, asking the refs, why we should not use the technology at our disposal with a call like this? Well, let’s repeat the question on Nick’s behalf. PSA, why not?

I immediately asked the same question to the good folks at SquashTV, via Twitter. And here’s the answer:

I understand what they’re saying, I really do. But, as a big NFL fan, I know the review needs to be embraced, not feared.

Yes, the video quality is lower than during a televised NFL match. No doubt about it. Also, the squash ball travels so fast even great cameras might not help.

That is all very well and true, but let’s be pragmatic about it. During PSA tournaments, referees should have an OPTION of judging the ball via the video replay.

If there is “indisputable evidence” (NFL review-system term) then just call the ball good/down, depending on what you see in the replay. If not, if there is room for doubt and discussions, only THEN call a let.

That Nick Matthew drop was a clear-cut decision. It would take 15 seconds to judge. There would be no delay and no unnecessary frustration on either side.

Just use the technology, PSA. Please?

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Adrian Fulneczek is a Polish journalist and the most-read columnist on Poland’s biggest squash website: nasquasha.plHe did a fine job as the 2013 World Junior Championships press officer, in one month tripling the attention this sport was given in his country. He blogs (from the couch) about the funny old game at squash-thrills.jux.com.

Pictures courtesy of Marian Kraus (Windy City Open)

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2 Comments

  1. FIFA is despised because of its corruption and self serving mentality. Lets not go down the line of football where player mistakes are accepted but this of the officials are not.

    Refs make mistakes, just accept it and play on.

  2. If there were ways of detecting double bounces, balls touching the lines or the tin in a more or less automatic way I would be all for it. To have the match stopped over and over again to check this is to me not a good idea. The review system and the quality of the images that I see on the computer is not good enough for me to use as evidence for a double bounce or not.
    Would it really be that difficult to find a way of detecting the ball electronically? This could then be used in top events but I guess even at some clubs just to avoid discussions.
    By the way – a good start to handle this dilemma would be if the players themselves were HONEST. At high level you do KNOW if there’s a double bounce or if it hits the tin.

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