Instant Replay, the refereeing assistance technology in basketball

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Arbitration technology has been establishing itself in the sports world in recent times. The figure of the collegiate has been able to have the help of complementary systems that have allowed them to correct possible mistakes in the performance of their task. Surely, the level of excellence has not been reached when it comes to using this type of assistance -the controversy regarding this issue continues to be constant- but over time its use is being perfected.

We can verify that because in most of the sports that we see they have incorporated such a tool.


The concept of Instant Replay

There are different types of help for the development of the arbitration function. In recent years, these elements have been called into question, especially due to the introduction of VAR in football, the sport with the most followers in the world. However, this is not something new, because this system has a great relationship with those that have been used in other sports practices. This is the case of Instant Replay. It is an imaging technology through which a play can be re-displayed to clarify its details in a short period of time. The first near-instant replay system was developed and used in Canada but was first implemented in the United States. It began with ice hockey, boxing or American football until it expanded to a greater number of sports, each with its corresponding precepts.

The beginnings of Instant Replay in basketball

In this case we will focus on the use of this tool in basketball. Almost twenty years ago, the most powerful and prestigious league in the world, the NBA, announced the incorporation of technology. On July 29, 2002, the use of Instant Replay was approved for a single purpose: that the referees could use a television replay to know if a shot to the basket had taken place within the regulation time at the end of any of the periods of a match.

Over the years, the range of possibilities in which to use this aid would expand. During 2007/08 season, the players who could be ejected for participating in fights or to determine what are known as flagrant fouls also began to be reviewed. A season later the option was added to use video to distinguish if a basket had been two or three points, to decide how many free throws a player who was fouled should take and for the occasions when the game clock or the possession will be spoiled.

Everything mentioned above has been expanded as time has passed, introducing numerous possibilities to review necessary aspects of the game.

At the beginning of this application, the Instant Replay services in the NBA were served by the television networks that covered each game. But there was a certain problem, because the producers, of course, prioritized the live broadcast of their respective channels before the assistance they could offer. Sometimes they did not serve the referees the best of repetitions nor did they attend to their requirements precisely because they had to pay attention to the television broadcast.

Events of this type generated delays in decision-making or difficulties in discerning what had taken place on the pitch due to the lack of images obtained from the best angle. The matter was such that it used to be the case that viewers from anywhere in the world had clearer, more varied and earlier replays on their televisions than the collegiate themselves. The solution to all these inefficiencies would come with the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign.

The NBA made an initial investment of $ 15 million in an audiovisual center designed to instantly provide multiple replays on league courts, whenever the umpires required them. The so-called NBA Replay Center was built in the small town of Secaucus, in northwestern New Jersey.

Instant Replay in Spanish basketball

In Spain, the ACB (Association of Basketball Clubs) did not want to be left behind and also chose to use this tool. The league officials got down to business and in 2006 it was used for the first time in a game. Over the years, the situations in which arbitration review can be used have been expanded and improved, of course, without abusing the system because that could affect the game due to the stoppages

It is true that each competition has its instructions and regulations for use and the Endesa League has designed a series of rules for the correct performance of Instant Replay. Here are some of the most relevant precepts when using the Instant Replay System (IRS).

IRS authorized use throughout the game

Check if a basket is two or three points, and if a free throw is 1 or 2 points (if a player contacts the ball before it enters the basket). During the first 38 minutes these situations will be reviewed in the next time-out or interval; in the last two minutes it will be reviewed after getting the basket.

Correct possession or game clocks.

Identify the free-throw shooter or the author of the foul.

To identify if the pitcher who has been fouled made a 2 or 3p shot.

To determine if a penalized contact is a normal /unsportsmanlike /disqualifying foul.

To check whether a basket made at approximately the same time as the 24 ”violation is called is valid or not (identify if the ball leaves the shooter’s hands before the yellow LED on the basket lights up).

To identify the responsibilities of the participants in a confrontation between players on the court, from the moment the game stops.

To see if a foul committed in a place on the field other than the one where the ball is located was made prior to a successful shot for a field goal.

In cases of foul by the attacker in the act of shooting, see if the ball has left his hands
before contacting the defender and therefore if the basket is valid or not.

When a violation is sanctioned for interference or interference.


IRS Authorized Use During Last 2 Minutes of Game

To see which player was the last to touch the ball before it went out of bounds / band.

To verify a violation of the ball returned to the backcourt that has been sanctioned by a referee.

To check if a sanctioned foul occurred before or after the start of the act of shooting.

To check if a basket made at the same time that the 24” possession ends is valid or not (identify if the ball leaves the shooter’s hands before the yellow LED on the basket lights up).


IRS Authorized Use During Last Play of Game

Check if a basket is two or three points, and if a free throw is 1 or 2 points (if a player contacts the ball before it enters the basket). During the first 38 minutes these situations will be reviewed in the next time-out or interval; in the last two minutes it will be reviewed after getting the basket.

Correct possession or game clocks.

Identify the free-throw shooter or the author of the foul.

To identify if the pitcher who has been fouled made a 2 or 3p shot.

To determine if a penalized contact is a normal / unsportsmanlike / disqualifying foul.

To check whether a basket made at approximately the same time as the 24 ”violation is called is valid or not (identify if the ball leaves the shooter’s hands before the yellow LED on the basket lights up).

To identify the responsibilities of the participants in a confrontation between players on the court, from the moment the game stops.

To see if a foul committed in a place on the field other than the one where the ball is located was made prior to a successful shot for a field goal.

In cases of foul by the attacker in the act of shooting, see if the ball has left his hands before contacting the defender and therefore if the basket is valid or not.

When a violation is sanctioned for interference or interference.

To see if a shot is in or out of time

To see how long the match timer should show in case the referee has sanctioned a violation of: out of bounds or bottom, 24 ”violation or 8” violation

To see if a sanctioned foul occurred before or after the end of the period

    As can be seen, the aspects in which technology intervenes are numerous and important. Even so, it is normal that failures occur on specific occasions, but it is amply proven that the success are exponentially greater compared to the errors. Everything continues to improve with the intention of making a fair game and it is a matter of time before these techniques are perfected.


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