FINA adopts Slomo.tv technology for water polo video refereeing
The international swimming federation FINA is using video refereeing technology from Slomo.tv to ensure fair play and accurate calls during international water polo tournaments.
As the preferred technology provider, Slomo.tv has worked closely with FINA to create a complete solution for water polo, adapting its videoReferee-SR system and developing specialist mini vR-Cam cameras for use in water sports.
“Slomo.tv is actively working with international leagues and federations to meet the needs of every sport and to provide affordable systems in response to the growing demand” said Igor Vitiorets, Slomo.tv’s chief technology officer.
According to the requirements of FINA Technical Water Polo Committee, the hardware component of the video-refereeing system requires a compact server capable of supporting eight channels of incoming video with 3G resolution (1920×1080 50p) and intuitive, easy to install cameras.
Slomo’s videoReferee-SR system with mini vR-Cam cameras is a compact 1U system that supports eight 3G channels and enables simultaneous 4-channel search and playback at various speeds. To suppress the water light glares and improve image quality the cameras include polarisation filters.
The video-refereeing system was pre-tested in real competition environments at the FINA Men’s Water Polo World League Super Final 2019 tournament in Belgrade in June 2019.
“The implementation of a customised video-refereeing solution that takes into account all peculiarities of water polo will improve this Olympic sport, and make it even more attractive.”
As part of the testing, Slomo.tv’s specialists provided training. In a short period of time, the referees gained sufficient theoretical and practical experience to work the system at the matches with minimal support.
Andrey Kryukov, FINA Water Polo Liaison said: “Water polo is an exciting and dynamic game that has a lot of fans around the world watching it. The implementation of a customised video-refereeing solution that takes into account all peculiarities of water polo will improve this Olympic sport, and make it even more attractive.”
The positive feedback from the referees on the use of the system led to the first-ever full-scale use of the video-refereeing system at the 18th FINA World Championships 2019 in Gwangju, the Republic of Korea in July 2019.
For two and a half weeks, videoReferee-SR was used at eight men’s and women’s water polo matches each day. Since the pool sizes for women’s and men’s water polo matches are different, it was necessary to relocate the cameras and set up the server quickly.
Describing the work that took place, Alexander Kalinin, Slomo.tv’s technical specialist said: “Preliminary tests allowed us to develop the basic principles of the video-refereeing workflow for water polo: well-established communication between the video referee and the referee on board, rapid preparation of video material for viewing and smooth operation of the system and cameras.
“Throughout the match, the video referee, in conjunction with the operator, works with the system and monitors all in-game action. At the request of the referee on board, he prepares footage for viewing in the shortest possible time. On average, it takes between 3 and 10 seconds to prepare and analyse an incident with videoReferee systems, which completely satisfies the referees.”
Video-refereeing has become an integral part not only of the competitions among main national teams, but also among junior ranks.
VideoReferee-SR was used at the FINA World Women’s Junior Water Polo Championships 2019 (September 2019, Funchal, Madeira) and FINA World Men’s Junior Water Polo Championships 2019 (December 2019, Kuwait).