Make volleyball more television-friendly and allow coaches to work on fresh tactics in order to make it more exciting to the spectators, seems to be the idea of volleyball authorities the world over as they try to give the sport a new look.

“Volleyball continues to be evolving,” said Mohamad Habib Ali, Asian Volleyball Confederation Referees Committee chairman and member of the Rules body of the FIVB, here on Monday. In volleyball the best way to bring in excitement was to ensure that there are more rallies and more breathtaking action on the court, he said.

“We at the FIVB have been constantly working on changes, see how best to set the focus on the court rather than on the referee. The referee should take a back seat, like the puppeteer,” the Kuwaiti official said while throwing light on the essence of the recent changes aimed at adding lustre to the competition.

Uniform interpretation

Ali, who along with AVC Referees Committee secretary Songsak Chareonpong (from Thailand) conducted a three-day course for the benefit of 30 international referees, said, when changes were made it was important to bring home the import of this to the referees and ensure uniform interpretation of the rules. “So the world body suggests more seminar and workshops,” he said while summing up the Chennai programme.

Ali said some of the key changes that had been implemented to ensure “more rallies and fewer interruptions in the contest” include doing away with the ‘net touch' violation, unless it was deliberate, liberal view of the ‘crossing of the centreline' and freedom ‘to move into rival free zone' to lift the ball.

Even substitutions have been made less complicated and less time-consuming. “All this is already being implemented all around and the effort to bring in more changes continue,” he said.

Ali also talked of the provision of having “two liberos”, instead of the one now, thereby making coaches think of ways (read tactics) to give the contest an additional dimension. All this should be in place by the 2012 London Olympics.

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