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Posts Tagged ‘euro volleyball’

italy – best league in the world?

Posted by markleb on September 26, 2009

Italian volleyball has taken a bit of a hit in the last few years. The performance of it’s National Team has been in decline for the last four or five years and it’s reputation for having the best and most important league was already clearly diminished (no Russians, few Brazilians, no Miljkovic, more and more of the best players playing outside Italy, TV company pulling out) even before the events of the last months.

To cut a long story short (also because I don’t know the details), one club, Pineto, was kicked out of the league during the summer due to some irregularities in procuring the licence from Milano for the previous season.  In it’s place, Forli’, who were relegated at the end of the season, were given a reprieve and a place in A1 for 2009-10.  Although this took place very late in the summer, technically after the market closed, Forli’ were very excited and announced as their first big signing, Paul Carroll. They managed to fit together a few more pieces of a team and were ready for the season.

In the meantime, Pineto appealed the decision of the league to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI, which has ultimate sporting power in Italy).  Eventually CONI passed down it’s decision.  The league were wrong to replace Pineto, and they should have their place back in the league.  Pineto were very excited and announced their first big signing, Nathan Roberts. They subsequently signed a few other players from the ones who were left over from the official market and Forli’s signings.

So, a dilemma.  Three weeks before the start of the season there were suddenly 15 teams with the ‘right’ to participate in the 14 team league.  All schedules were abandoned as they tried to figure out what to do.  There were three possibilities.  They could keep 15 teams, they could kick out Forli’ or they could go against CONI and kick out Pineto.  The early money was on a 15 team league, but no quick decision was forthcoming.  Last weekend was the presentation of the league with the Supercup (between the league winners and cup winners) and still no decision.  During the meetings around the Supercup, they did make one decision: the league would begin on September 27th.

All week there has been no news.  On the league website there was no program and not even a list of teams who are participating in the league.  All day Friday 25th, no news until 4pm.  The announcement was made that Forli’ will go down to A2 and Pineto will play A1, in a 14 team league.

So Devo’s breathless news that there will be 3 Australians playing in A1 turned out to be a little premature.  There will be two, Dan Howard and Nathan Roberts.  And 1 in A2.  And Italian volleyball takes another hit.

There is a quite good article in Italian entitled “Italian Volleyball reopens the ‘Culture of Excuses” written just after the European Championships debacle.  I can’t imagine what an auto translate will make out of it, but there it is…

UPDATE – Oddly Forli’ aren’t entirely happy with the latest decision.  They have filed an appeal, including an injunction to delay the start of the Championships.  That decision will be made today.

UPDATE 2 – The court ruled to postpone the two matches including Forli’ and Pineto, with a final judgement to be handed down on Tuesday.  The rest of the matches will take place as programmed.

Posted in Aussies Overseas, sport, Volleyball | Tagged: , , | 16 Comments »

stupid(ity) rule(s)

Posted by markleb on April 12, 2009

The stupidest rule in volleyball is undoubtedly the rule governing out of rotation penalties.  This says that a team that is out of rotation should lose all the points they won while they were out of rotation.  This seems clear but it is not.

At the beginning of each set, the coach fills out a lineup sheet.  The 2nd referee checks it.  If the players are in the wrong position they must move to the ones on the lineup sheet.  If the the wrong player is on the sheet, the coach can choose either to leave it as is, or use one of his substitutions to correct it.  This is the ultimate penalty for filling out the sheet incorrectly.  Or is it?

No, it is not.

Imagine the 2nd referee cannot tell the difference between a 9 and a 1 and lets the wrong player start the set.  Imagine then that the scorer who should also be checking the lineup makes the same mistake.  Imagine that at 10-9 someone notices the problem that has theoretically been checked (and approved!) 20 times already.  If they refer to the scoresheet they will find that until the moment that it is noticed, the team has been in the correct rotation with the correct players.  Logically then they will give the serve to the other team and maybe lose one point.  However, in this case logic does not rule, stupidity does.  They do not refer to the scoresheet but get together amongst themselves and decide from their memories how long the team was out of rotation.  The very people that could not be relied upon to read two numbers correctly are now in charge of deciding how many points the team will lose.

Now imagine that it is the semifinal of an important championhips, there are 2000 people in the gym and hundreds of thousands watching on tv.  The result of the match could determine which team goes through the final and hundreds of thousands of dollars are riding on it.

So there is a big scene in the gym.  People shouting and yelling, security guards intervening.  The referees somehow decide to take off 5 points (a number that defies logic, surely it is either 0 if they read the scoresheet or 10 if they ‘remember’) and a team, a city, a sponsor have to pay for the mistake of the referee.

But the biggest loser is volleyball.  The unsightly scene that was played on national television was no advertisement for the game and finished it prematurely as a spectacle.  And the stupidest rule in volleyball sticks around waiting for the right stupidity conditions to ruin another game.

Posted in Volleyball | Tagged: | 8 Comments »