Friday, September 11, 2009

Alouettes Protest Did Some Good

From the Globe's Dave Naylor...

The CFL has drafted three amendments to its game protocol to prevent a repeat of the miscues which led to a game-tying touchdown beingwrongly denied in last week’sgame between the B.C. Lions and Montreal Alouettes.

The Alouettes filed a formal protest this week after officials denied a Montreal touchdownbecausethey were paged by the game supervisor to check the game clock. Even though the game officials did not receive the page in time to stop the play from beginning, an eight-yard touchdown run by Avon Cobourne was disallowed.

The CFL has since admitted its fault but did not uphold the Alouettes’ protest as itdid not fit the definition of “intentional” misapplication of a rule.
The proposed amendments are as follows:

1)Game officials are to ignore any page if they do not feel there is enough time to stop a play from beginning. If they determine there is enough time to stop a play, they must do so by blowing a whistle and waving their arms in the air.

2)When the ball is put into play by the game officials (and the 20-second clock begins), the game supervisor is not to page the game officials. The one exception to this is if a head coach throws a challenge flag. In that case, the game supervisor is allowed to page the officials after the ball has been put into play and the 20-second clock is running. Officials are to apply the protocol from amendment one for determining whether to respond to a page.

3)The stadium clock is the responsibility of the seven on-field officials, the scorekeeper and the two head coaches only – not the game supervisor.

“We have to do this because something not desirable happened in a game, the worst-case scenario,” said CFL director of officiating Tom Higgins. “It was a series of misfortune that put us in that position and we don’t want to see it ever happen again. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling knowing something you are responsible for goes wrong like that.”
Higgins said it’s possible the league could consider other amendments for the competition committee to consider as well. In the meantime, he said officials have been told not to respond to late pages if there isnot enough time to stop a play from beginning.
“In interim, we feel we have the ability to make sure plays are not disrupted by pagers or late challenges, without the competition committee,” said Higgins.

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