A. Joseph Antony
New changes will come into effect from October 1They were approved at FIBA's Hong Kong session
HYDERABAD: In a path-breaking development, Federation Internationale de Basketball (FIBA), the game's world governing body, will introduce electronic equipment to assist referees as part of select rule changes coming into force from October 1, 2006.
A referee will be able to use an electronic device to decide whether a shot at the basket was made before or after the table officials signalled the expiration of a period/quarter or the game itself. Coaches are allowed to draw the referee's attention to adjudicate on the validity of the basket.
"This rule gains significance in close contests and in noisy situations where the whistle gets drowned in the din," said FIBA referee Norman Isaac.
Does this innovation undermine the referee's authority? "No, on the contrary it only underscores it," he affirmed.
Right from installation to use of the device, the referee's decision will be final. He may allow or refuse the device's use.
A replay review will be made in consultation with the table commissioner, if any, the time-keeper and the officials.
But the referee has sweeping powers to overrule all of them and even the device itself under the `elastic power,' that he has now been vested with.
The new set of rules has been approved by FIBA's Central Board at its Hong Kong session held recently.
Other major changes include: Article 5: If a player is injured or appears to be injured, following which his team officials/doctors enter the playing court with the referee's permission, the injured player will be deemed to have received treatment, whether actual treatment is administered or not.
This makes it mandatory to have the injured player substituted, unless the rest of the team is either unfit or ineligible. "This could be to eliminate faking of injury and save injury time," said Isaac.
Article 18 & 19: (charged time-outs and substitutions): If the last or only free throw is successful and is followed by a throw-in at the centre-line extended, then a request for a charged time-out or a substitution shall be granted for either team.
The request must be made after the ball is at the disposal of the free throw shooter for the first or the only free throw.
In the last two minutes of the final quarter and any subsequent extra period, no time-out or substitution is permissible to the scoring team, even though the game clock is stopped.
However, if the non-scoring side makes a substitution, the scoring team can also replace a player.