The LEN Technical Water Polo Committee invited the top referees and delegates from each nation to discuss the new rules that came into force this spring. The meeting was an outstanding success and should positively impact officiating on the European scene and in the national leagues.

The new rules came into play in March and have been used ever since at the international meets for national teams, both at the senior level and at the age-group championships. The changes include the new 2m rule, a new setup for the 5m penalties and shootouts and several clarifications of certain situations.

However, based on the matches played with the new rules in recent months, several questions arose, and the LEN TWPC decided to organise a clinic for the officials, ahead of the new season which will see hundreds of matches in the club competitions and the European Water Polo Championships in January.

The clinic, held in Barcelona, proved to be a key event and should benefit the whole European water polo community. “We believe that it was essential to address all the queries in a clear and precise way and share the conclusions with the group of referees and delegates,” said Angel Moliner, Chair of the LEN TWPC. “We came together to discuss and clarify all new situations and guarantee a fresh start for the season with a unified application of the rules.”

The clinic – which could also be attended remotely via a live stream on the LEN YouTube channel – included lectures by Mr Moliner on the instructions and rule clarifications. Secretary Dejan Perisic offered an in-depth overview on impeding, while Vice-Chair Tamas Molnar, who is also the Chair of the WA TWPC, did a presentation on judging the battles in the centre position (himself a three-time Olympic champion centre-forward, one could hardly find any better lecturer on this topic).

Mr Moliner also explained the instructions on penalty throws and shootouts, while Boris Margeta, President of the World Water Polo Referees’ Association, held a highly interesting lecture on how to improve as a referee. LEN TWPC Member and former official Nikolaos Stavropoulos followed his former colleague with another exciting topic on the psychology of water polo referees.

“The clinic went really well, and I think that this should enable many if not all the officials to apply the rules in a clear and unified way,” Vice Chair Tamas Molnar said. “The target is to see a constantly high level in officiating by the referees, first throughout an entire match, then we do hope that the level can be kept on the long run, week by week, or during an entire championship.”

The full replay of the LEN Water Polo Clinic is available on the LEN YouTube channel