Saturday, July 31, 2021

So You Think MLB Replay Review is Confusing? Wait Till You See Beach Volleyball VAR at the Olympic Games

For all the flack MLB's Replay Review system gets over controversial decisions, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games' use of a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system during Team USA vs Canada's Women's Beach Volleyball round of 16 elimination game takes the cake.

With Team USA's Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil facing Canada's Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson in the final set of their match, USA fired up a serve toward the back line of Canada's half of the court, initially ruled out.

Team USA challenged the call and VAR stepped in, ruling after instant replay review that the ball was actually in (touching the line, etc) and awarded the point to USA on the serve's ace.

However, Canada appeared to delay returning to play and the officials then reviewed the review, overturning the overturned call: the point was reassigned to Canada after VAR came back a second time and decided to reverse the earlier reversal and rule the ball out.

For what it's worth, if Beach Volleyball played by MLB Umpire Manual interpretations, this ball would indeed have been ruled to have not touched the line ("When in contact with the ground, a ball must be in contact with fair territory [e.g., the foul line] and not merely over fair territory in order to be adjudged to be fair").

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: VAR overturns itself after delay during USA vs Canada knockout game (NBC/CCS)


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