📅 Aug 31 18.00 GMT
What happens when you put a GB/England player and a retired umpire in a virtual room together to battle it out over how to improve the video referral process? I don't know either, so you’d better join in this #WhatUpWednesday to find out!
Find Brendan Creed:
IG ➡️ https://www.instagram.com/brendancreed18/
Twitter ➡️ https://twitter.com/CreedBrendan
🎙 Let's Stick Togetherr Podcast:
IG ➡️ https://www.instagram.com/lets_stick_togetherr/
Apple ➡️ https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/lets-stick-together/id1510732371
Spotify ➡️ https://open.spotify.com/show/0np9EPAULrS93Ny3eQIDvt?si=6a032684875f43fc
⏱ Chapter Markers:
Check out when the next #WhatUpWednesday will go live.
Keely: Hey friends. It's What Up Wednesday we're back after a brief summer, whatever it was an impromptu vacation. And, and I know you're not mad. Y'all are telling me Keely, go take a rest. And I did, and I feel pretty good, but you know, what's even more exciting than that though, is that , we've got, uh, we've got a minor guest on today.
Okay. I'm super excited about this. I was just astonished when he added me on Twitter and then wanted to start a conversation. I'm like, mm I've got a better plan for this. So just in a second, we'll get started with Mr. Brendan Creed. But before we do, I'm just gonna say hi to a few people because, um, once he and I start going, I have a feeling I'm gonna miss a lot of comments.
So, if you have a question specifically, put a little, a little, put a Q colon in front of it, and I'll put that in the search bar, and it'll be easier for me to find those as we're getting into the meat of things, if you want banter, banter away, but the Q colon will be what I really pay attention to and try to address so that, uh, Brendan can get to everything that we're gonna talk about.
Um, good morning. 4:00 AM. Candace. You are. Wow. I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna blow that for you. Amazing Paul. Great to see you. Sunny Corwell oh, replay squad. How? Okay. I'm getting, I'm getting the gist of this. And, um, Paul, uh, Brendan, Paul was saying what up and get that foot better. So I know you can hear me, Elaine.
Good to see you. Uh, you've been, yeah, you have been replay for quite a bit Kia aura to Stephan. Hi, Adam's here. Rachel with Cabernet Somon I think you were first Rachel. So as always, there you are Mark Cummings. Hi, staying good to have you. And in you've made it here and on time, I know Wednesdays aren't the best time for everybody, but I've been trying to encourage y'all to change your, your training schedules.
I, I mean, what, what are you doing? I've been Wednesday for two and a half years. I'm just saying Hamish you're ditching HW. I don't know what that is, but is that hard work? Is that hardware? I don't know what that is. And you're there Luke Pibworth. Hi Scott Reilly. And I have my groove on no, no wine. It's it's tea.
It's English breakfast tea, cuz I like to get in the spirit of things. And also it's only noon. I'm not allowed to drink. I have rules and standards. I am looking forward to it as well. Yeah. I was talking to myself. What do you think I do all day? I'm sitting here in front of this pan of glass and I'm talking to y'all.
You don't think I'm already crazy. That's very funny. There you go. Okay. Yeah. I love how y'all are figuring it out yourself, but great to have you Godders. Thank you. And George, haven't seen you for hot minute. Great to have you, um, okay. Center stage wedding and function band. You're my favorite fan. okay.
Here's a question. I'm gonna star that. That's awesome. Oh, homework, homework. Okay. There you go. You're not meant to train Mr. Stoneman. You are way past that. Okay. Let's get into. Um, the plunger coffee's on board for Steffan. That is awesome. Okay. Let's go. Because I realized that I didn't wanna spend time typing on a keyboard and doing this when Brendan and I could talk face to face.
So let's bring him on right now. Mr. Brendan Creed, warm welcome. You were in the den of umpires. How are you feeling?
Keely: Nervous. That is shocking.
Brendan: It's a tough place to be in the den of umpires. It's tough place to be.
Keely: People have long debated whether there's a nickname for a group of umpires. And you know, I'm not saying that it's accurate, but maybe a murder of umpires. I don't know.
Brendan: I'd go gaggle, like geese, I'd go gaggle.
Keely: Gaggle? Yeah. I've heard of blind of umpires, which is hahaha. Very funny. , you know.
Brendan: That's a terrible one. That's terrible.
Keely: That is terrible. That is terrible. I have heard some really awful ones, but I just, I think an awesome of umpires also because these are my favorite people.
But anyway, here you are. You have been very busy this summer. Um, in addition to frequenting many, uh, operating halls in many hospitals, you've even been playing some hockey. How's that been going for you?
Brendan: Uh, yeah, it was going well up until the point . Um, but yeah, I think it's been, it's been nice to have tournaments again.
It's always a bit tough when you're just traveling around for one or two matches, whereas the minute tournaments come back into play, it becomes a lit that bit more exciting.
Keely: Yeah, absolutely. How do you think that the, I mean, obviously things are very disjointed over the past year and it was like, stop, go.
And then they moved to the home and home system, but how do you think the pro league prepared you guys for as Joep called it the most important tournament win, the F I H pro league. Oh my God. So funny. Um, how did it prepare you for, you know, what happened this summer and you know what you've got coming up with the, the men's world cup on the horizon here?
Brendan: Um, it's pretty, I think the new, I think the new system works better. Yeah. Um, so I think the, the fact that we're traveling to, so our first one's Argentina where we play four games.
Brendan: I think that. Fills the format, more of a tournament rather than just match, play.
Brendan: Um, but at the same time, playing back to back matches consistently one, two months I think is actually really beneficial as well.
Cause it just gives you that feel of that doubleheader that you get at a tournament where you play two, then a day off, then another game or however may work at the tournaments. Um, so I think it's worked. I think it's getting better each year. I think at some point they're gonna have to decide on a format that they're gonna stick with.
Cuz I think the, the issue they've had so far is continuity.
Brendan: Um yeah. Uh, wonder,
Keely: because it's been different every season. Is that what you're you're saying?
Brendan: Well, we, we discussed it today. Um, we actually recorded our first episode on the podcast today for the new season. Nice. And that was one of the things that came up was the continuity of like how, how do people get involved or how can people really care a lot about it when you've not got that consistency that people understand what the tournament is. Yeah. So like the first year we had the playoffs, which was class, it felt like a proper tournament. And then they obviously with COVID and everything else, they had to get rid of that. And then it's not come back and then it's now looking different again. It's kind of, well, what's the format long term is what we are kind of intrigued about, really.
Keely: Yeah, absolutely. And I think sort of from an umpiring perspective, I've always felt like the, the pro league was made it harder on umpires because they couldn't get that continuity either. And it's very much, if you want umpires to be consistent over a number of games in a singular competition, the best way is to have them together in one place and able to really watch each other in detail and have those conversations and be like, so can we talk about that decision?
And you know, you know, what are you doing there? And, oh, I, I, I, wasn't quite sure with, you know, you, you're changing your positioning on that. Is there a reason? And, and having those conversations I think is, is. Super important. And that, I think it was probably pretty obvious to you guys over the course of the pro league that maybe that got things a little disjointed. Um, for sure.
Brendan: Yeah. I, I mean, it's, it's pretty hard when at the end of the day, I dunno what the pay system is in for the umpires in the, in those tournaments, but it's pretty, I'm imagining it's not much if anything. Um, but what's interesting is we, the thing we discussed today was actually the training schedule is at the end of the day, we are training quite regularly.
Brendan: Whereas most umpires, obviously it's a, it's a bit of fun on the side so obviously you're working in the time, like, do you get the opportunities to train? And as you say, that might be the prime opportunity when everybody's it, for example, now it's looking like it's gonna be based and there's gonna be four or six games is actually, it might give the guys an opportunity to actually do exactly what you've just been saying in terms of helping each other and almost coaching slash learning off each other and kind of Making that divide. Or as you say, when it's not easy, actually it makes it a lot simpler.
Keely: Yeah, absolutely. I'll, I'll get back to the pay thing later. I'm sure everybody in the comments is like going, oh, this is delightful.
Let's talk more about it. But I, I remember, so you're when you're talking about the first episode of the podcast, for those of you at home are like me living under a rock and didn't realize until a few days ago that Mr. Creed and Phil Roper and Joep de Mol, is he a permanent fixture? Like he's, he's always gonna be on the podcast from here on in.
Is that a thing?
Oh my God.
Brendan: Yeah, it is now. It is a very much a thing.
Keely: They do a podcast called Let's Stick Together. And you guys, honestly, I, you guys know, I don't like players as a rule. So if I'm gonna sit there and listen to a bunch of players talking about playing it better, be good. And this is really just fine quality stuff.
So make sure you go check the, uh, let's, uh, stick together. Why two RS? Can we just,
Brendan: I'll be honest. I think, I think the issue was is that there was already one R taken. So we had to take the second R.
Keely: Okay. We'll we'll let you get another season on your belt, then we'll work on a rebranding thing.
Like, it'll be fine, but oh my God. I was like, of course, as an umpire, I have to point. but, uh, there you go. Oh, we've already. Yes, people are. Oh dear. We've moved onto the payment discussion. But, um, anyway, what I, what I wanted to mention is on a couple of the episodes, when you guys were talking about the women's world cup, you were mentioning about how you thought it was, uh, splitting up the tournament to two, two different countries.
Although a nice sentiment really had some deleterious effects on the teams and the extra travel and just not being able to be part of a whole event. In one thing I can tell you that, you know, the, uh, women who are umpiring there felt the same way. And that's probably the first time. Yeah, that would be the first time any of them would've been at a major tournament, but they weren't all together.
They had one half and one half, and it was, it was hard for them. It was a struggle. They tried to make sure everything was together, but you've got one. Um, and one place, one, um, and another place. And it's kind of like having your coaching staff split. and they're great as a combined whole, but would you take them apart?
You know, maybe one coach has given you one set of information and you're getting another set and you're kinda like, I don't understand how to reconcile all this together. And yeah. So it was a, it, it, wasn't a great system, I think, for their performance either from what they told me, so.
Brendan: It's, it's I think, as you say, like, I think it's, it's a great, it's a great idea.
I just don't think it works for a sport that doesn't have enough money in it. Cause at the end of the day, if you had, if you had more money in it, you'd have two umpire managers at each venue or each, um, country you'd have just double the amount of everything where you'd, it'd be just a lot simpler just because there's more money available.
But when you're a sport that doesn't necessarily have that much money, especially in the minor countries, I think we're quite blessed in the UK. And I think, um, obviously there's certain countries in Europe that are also blessed in south America and things it's one of them, but when you've got smaller countries and things like that in umpires who are probably, as you say, it could be their first to major tournament to have it in a situation that's not easy for them.
Brendan: I think it's quite difficult. And I don't think it's the teams let alone anyone else. I think like, as you say, like the umpires, if they're not, if they've not got the support there, I think it becomes such a difficult scenario for them to kind of deal with as well. And at the end of the day, if the game can't happen without umpires, like we've gotta start looking after people better in general.
Keely: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I agree. Um, let's just see if there's a few other comments to bring in first here. Um, Mr. McCart, you couldn't miss you putting a plastic boot into this subject. very funny. And okay. And, and so a lot of, a lot of this crowd are commenting on this whole notion of pay. So I was hoping that today what you and I could do is kind of ask each other the questions that we've always wanted to know about video referrals and maybe umpiring and playing in general, because a lot of those themes sort of tie in.
So I'm gonna pretend the first question you asked me was: how much do umpires get paid in international games? Is that a good, like a good opening question?
Brendan: I'm intrigued. You're intrigued. I'm very intrigued.
Keely: Okay. So what would you, what kind of range, like pick, I don't know, euros go in euros. And how much do you think umpires get paid per game?
Brendan: How much do I think? Or how much do I think they should?
Keely: Oh, I I'm happy for you to address both, but how much, how much do you think that they actually get right now?
Brendan: I think it's two. I think it'll be two figures, and I think it should be three. Okay. Plus expenses.
Keely: Plus expenses. Okay. That's very important.
Let's see. Everybody's like pay what's that okay.
Brendan: So intrigued.
Keely: Surprise. Guess what? They get nothing. They get zero figures per game.
Brendan: Okay. That doesn't make much sense, but okay.
Keely: I know, right? So here's the thing, you you're, you're right in that expenses are paid and, uh, you know, so your, your hotels and your per diems, your flights, those are covered, but umpires at the F IH level do not get paid per match.
End of. And I've been, you know, in my career, I had some experiences. I went to places like, um, well, when I went to the junior world cup in Santiago, Chile, they put us up in the Sheraton and those rooms, they were fine. They were massive. The bathroom was bigger than my apartment and had like three showers and, and everything.
And we're, and we had a couch that we could lay on in addition to these king size beds, like it was a, and we were there for three weeks. So, I mean, granted, that was nice to have that room, but I'd never had something like that. And then you go all the way down to things like you go to a smaller tournament, like, I don't know the CAC games in Puerto Rico and you might be on an army base and you're sleeping with cockroaches and you're eating in the army mass hall with the officers and all kinds of crazy stuff.
But the theme that runs true is that what, what your per diem is, is gonna be scaled on the economics of the country that you're in because the national associations only gonna have so much money, right? So the host has to pay for the umpires and they might get, there might be different agreements with the FIH and things like that.
And maybe the FH is the host, and that gets a little bit more complicated, but it's the host association that comes up with the money for those costs. So they're always looking at ways to, you know, to trim as much as possible, but yeah, umpires volunteer their, their, their travel, their, their vacation time, their holidays don't get paid. Zero.
Brendan: So if the, so what I'm trying to work out is if it's the host country. So let's say, for example, let's choose a country outta the blue. So let's say Canada, for example. So Canadian hockey association, the Canadian hockey association would then have to. obviously pay for the teams to come. Yep. They then have to pay for the FIH to come.
And does that include the umpires or is it FI's responsibility to pay for themselves to get there and then the umpires come separately? If that makes sense.
Keely: So when you say the, I do you mean like admin people,
execs and stuff?
Brendan: Yeah. And TV crews and things like that.
Keely: And yeah. So, well, I, I think the costs get, uh, are, are different depending on what kind of event it is. Now, let's say the Olympic qualifier series Canada Ireland back, um, before, um, back before Tokyo God COVID memory. Yeah. And , and so it was two games in Vancouver and so it's an FIH responsibility tournament. So it's, it's a top tier tournament, PAHF isn't involved in it whatsoever. And it's combined financial agreement between Field Hockey Canada and the FIH and the FIH would probably bear a lot of responsibility in the cost of bringing all the umpires in because the umpires are their appointment. Yeah. FHC has nothing to do with who gets to go and, and that sort of thing. So they're paying a lot of that, but as hosts, Field Hockey Canada would've been paying for a share of the broadcast costs, the you know, the infrastructure that was needed and things like that. Actual FH people traveling over, that's gonna, that's gonna be on the FH for sure.
Brendan: So, so I wonder if it should, it should be the FH that pay the umpires rather than the host nations. It should just strictly be an FIH thing, because that would make the most sense, because at the end of the day, they're almost just as I, well, if we're talking about broadcasting and things like that, they're just as important as the broadcasting.
So surely comes. Yeah. I dunno. I dunno how if it's an employee thing or whatever it be, I dunno how it would work, but yeah, that's, that's bizarre to me that they don't, it's bizarre to me that at the top level. People aren't getting paid. Yeah. I know they're getting supported, but it's not, it's not the same as at the end of the day, they're giving up time to work.
Yeah. Free of almost free of charge with mm-hmm , it's a bit backwards.
Keely: It is backwards. It's very backwards. It's very backwards. And, and I mean, this is fascinating, cuz we kind of assume that you guys know that, that we're just out there because we, we love the game. We get to sit in these amazing seats and watch you guys do like amazing stuff on the field and we get to be a part of shaping the best kind of product that we can put out there.
Hmm. But we, we just assume that you know that it's, we're not out there for financial gain whatsoever. And then when you talk about support, I mean, that's, that's another interesting question because every, so all of the prole umpires that you saw over the last little while and from that group, um, Have been selected the world cup umpires that you're about to see in India.
They all have really stringent physical tests that they have to meet. So, and like their, uh, their yo-yo scores are really close to what I've understand to be many international programs standards as well. Cuz it was come up with bio, um, a trainer or something like that. Yeah. And uh, so they have to work incredibly hard and you know, I, I know that you're still young and you're not feeling it yet, but you get a little older, it gets a little harder to run after all you young people.
So you gotta work extra hard just to meet those standards and your like every umpire I know, pays for their own trainers.
Brendan: That's what I was gonna say is do you get as part of being part of it, do you get a free gym membership or something or something where they can partner with a gym or something, I dunno, a John, uh, David Lloyd or something that's pretty worldwide in terms of that access.
Can you get like, I mean, that should be surely part of it, but again, that's probably me just being naive on that front.
Keely: It's not, it's not. And I mean, so many people have to do it on their own because they obviously have their full-time jobs. They've got their families, they got whatever and they have to spend their spare time doing it.
So it's not like they're part of a centralized umpiring program where they get to all train together and, and there's a staff who knows how to help them get to the markers that they need to hit for their sprint times and their yo-yo times and all those, that sort of thing. So you, you, you need somebody with some individual attention as well.
I know that there's a couple umpires, like, you know, you'll, you'll take Laurine and you know, she's still playing, uh, in the women's prem and playing on the national indoor team. So she's getting that training through her club. So she's probably doing. Whatever she does to train to play is gonna be perfect for, for umpiring really.
So, you know, she's got that benefit, but there's a lot of umpires who don't have anything like that. And they're just, you know, hanging out in Canada alone, nobody, no friends, nobody to train with. It's like, okay, I better hire somebody to help me get through that. So,
Brendan: Well, that's a, I think there's the opportunity.
There is the education side of it. Can you get, should there be someone central within FIH or two people central within FIH that you can speak to ask questions and they can give you that advice, that kind of training. I mean, there might be an opportunity for. Somebody who's just graduated or something to be able to be that person where you can kind of almost set programs with people and gradually make them more and more individually tailored.
Yeah. Might take some time, but at least it's a start to kind of support you guys on the road to where you wanna get to and or where people feel they should get to.
Keely: And there are programs that get circulated. So like the world cup panel umpires will have something to do, but in order to, you know, you need access to facilities to do that.
You need the time to do that. You need proper nutrition, you need all the, all the pieces together and yeah, it's, it takes a, a big, a big sort of investment. But.
Brendan: this comes almost comes back to the pay packet thing of, if you support people a little bit more, does it give them, even if that let's say for example, it was 200 pounds a month, at least that goes towards a gym membership and potentially some healthier food options rather than just working the whole time.
And don't really have that opportunity, even something small as that would go a long way in terms of just helping support people.
Keely: Yeah, absolutely. Um, This might be a good question to bring in right here. This is, uh, our friend Steffan, he's from New Zealand and he's asking how much would the cost go up if umpiring is professional?
Would it reduce the criticism of the Comm games, for example, since comp competition countries provided umpires and some did, didn't get a lot of top competition. What do you, what do you think about that? I can fill in some of the blanks in terms of how the umpires were appointed to that kind of tournament, but.
Brendan: My, my, so from what we gather is every, every nation brings an umpire and then the umpires, and then there's a few others extras that come in. And then basically as you go through the tournament, the better umpires get more of the better positional games in terms of like your in 15th to six or, uh, your ninth to 10th is not necessarily the best umpires.
Whereas as you get to semi-finals and finals, it's the better umpires that, or the higher ranked umpires that get it. Is was what our assumption is as players.
Keely: Yeah. That's, that's absolutely natural. It's absolutely natural. Yeah.
Brendan: I think, I think the interesting thing is back to like the education side of it.
So as you're saying with the pro league and things like that, it's a real opportunity for countries that don't necessarily have that access to kind of go and speak to the umpires that are higher up and kind of have that conversation. I'm sure that happens. Yeah. Um, real opportunity there to kind of create a learning environment.
Um, but if it's professional, I think, I don't think that necessarily should change in those competitions. I think what all, all that happens is each nation's umpires will get better because they're being looked after better and education's better then actually it gets to a point where actually the officiating catches up and Joep actually says it on the podcast.
He says, he reckons that whilst the playing has got better over the course of the past 20, 30 years and taken a drastic jump umpiring maybe necessarily hasn't made as bigger jump. Which was quite an interesting take on it. And I think he's coming from a point of view of the speed of the game has changed so much and because we're training so much, it goes back to that training thing of our umpires, having the opportunity to actually train in the same way that the player group players group are.
Yeah. And it was quite an interesting comment. So I was like, I had took me a little bit time to process. I'm a bit of a slow processor on that stuff. so I sat there and I was trying to, I was trying to just think about it and it's actually, it was actually really interesting the point and it kind of goes back to that professional side of it is at the end of the day, if people are getting supported more.
Actually, does that give the opportunity for them people to get better quicker rather than it takes that little bit longer.
Keely: Yeah. That that's really interesting as well. Cuz I mean, I've been around a little longer than you and I've, I've seen, I think more of the transitions over the last two decades and, and sort of what's been happening and, and yeah, I mean, when I was a teenager and I started playing the game was just glacial and it was really easy to umpire, like even a slow poke, like me had no problems at all.
But if I were on the pitch now as like, let's pretend I'm not 50, but if I were on the pitch now I'd struggle with the, the pace and the tempo. And it's not about lack of willingness or commitment or anything like that. Yeah. It is that professionalism because programs like yours are, you know, you're still not getting compensated well enough, but you, you, you at least have consistent funding.
So this is your full-time gig. There isn't a single umpire for whom that's true.
Brendan: Yeah, exactly.
Keely: You know, so there is gonna be a gap. There has to be a gap. And how do you know, how do we address that? Because yeah, it's, it's tough to quantify though. The, the difference, I mean, maybe umpires were really shitty 30 years ago and we just didn't notice , you know, because nothing was televised, nothing was broadcast and live streamed and all that kind of thing, which is sort of the area era that we're in now. For sure.
Brendan: Yeah. I. I think, yeah. That's the other thing is kind of, as you say, with technology advancement, so as everything's getting streamed, you've also got more people that are hiding behind a screen as well, that can kind of vocalize their points a lot more aggressively than yes. Previously. What, obviously would've been the case where at the end of the day, if you wanted to have a conversation with somebody, you had to either pick up the phone or go and see them.
Keely: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You, you talked about that at, at a couple points. I think I just caught one of the episodes where you were talking about trolls and about how that dynamic has changed for you guys as players, because, you know, even, even in a relatively low profile sport like hockey, now, all your games are getting live streamed and, and people can go back on YouTube and watch.hockey and they can watch games and, and they, they reach out and they wanna tell you what they think on a regular basis.
And, um, I know you talked about how, uh, in Rio that social media was completely shut down, which was really great and stuff like that. Has that been different over the course of sort of the pro league and because you can't stay off social media for six months and ignore.
Brendan: I think it's
Keely: everything, right?
Brendan: It's, it's really interesting because people obviously voice their opinions, but not, it's not necessarily just results driven now. It's more a case of if people don't like how you played, they'll tell you . Um, which is really, which is really interesting. Yeah. Um, so I remember we played against, we played in the 2019 Euros.
Um, we came fifth and we lost our final group game or we drew our final group game against Spain. We needed to win. Yeah. Um, and I was like, I was a bit gutted. Like I, I had an right game. I didn't play amazing, but I had an all right game and I went on Twitter and the first thing somebody said was like, that Creed keeps turning the ball over and I was like, oh, okay.
It's like, this is it. Okay. Um, which is really interesting, cuz the dynamic for obviously you want to kind of please people that are watching whilst also playing as well as you can do. And then the minute you see people aren't happy. It kind of, it does hit you quite hard. Yeah. Um, I think you, but gradually as you just get more and more used to it, you just create a bit of a tough out tougher, outer skin um, and then the classic there's there's points where you just want to respond.
Yeah. And you're like, Hmm. Is it worth it? Probably not. Um, cause at the end of the day, the only thing that comes only comes across negatively for you as an athlete. If you get involved aggressively. Yeah. Um, But I find it. I find it really interesting. The fact that it's getting more and more prevalent in the world that we're in.
And that's the bit that I find really interesting because it, people feel they can speak to you. So for example, like you finish a game and you go over to the sides and people are, it's normally really positive with people, um, regardless of the result, but then you, the minute you go online and you see the rest of the world and how it all kicks off, it's madness.
Absolute carnage. Um, prime example is, um, so England hockey's Twitter. They they've, they've basically, they've had a bit of a revamped a bit of a reshape and they've been brilliant. um, but so if the world women's world cup, if you look at like the interactions they have, so the interactions are basically quite like safe and sensible people are like, yeah, go on girls.
This, that, and the other, they lost to Argentina in the quarter final, they put a tweet up and it had something like, and normally they get about 20 responses, maybe 25 responses. Yeah. I think they got a thousand responses. Just from Argentinian people that just flooded it with, um, just basically info and kind of basically just being quite abusive towards England.
Um, obviously a bit of context in terms of the Faulklands and things like that, but it was really interesting to kind of like, that was the way they kind of went about it. And that for me is like, oh Lord, social media is really something different yeah. Than what probably people would've ever thought in terms of the context of it.
Yeah. Um, and that's where like, something like Birmingham for example, was magic for us because it was hockey being played internationally outside of London. Um, which was actually massive for us as a country, because what you then do is you then engage more people. But then with that, the social media side of it is also very different because then you get people who don't normally watch hockey, voicing opinions as well, and things like that.
And it's, I, I it's brilliant. I really do think it's great. It's just in as an athlete, you have to create a tougher, outer skin to be able to. Contextualize and understand and appreciate the fact that people engaging is good, whether it's positive or negative. It is still good. Um, you've just gotta get, you've just gotta be good basically to then, for it to be positive, which is again, normal.
I think that's quite a normal thing.
Keely: Yeah, absolutely.
Brendan: Yeah. I find it fascinating.
Keely: That's that's been the struggle that I've had ever since I started, um, on social media back in 2006. And my, my whole goal was that I wanted to, to present a piece of umpiring and officiating culture that was positive and that was supportive and encouraging and like celebrating people's appointments and their promotions and that they had a great game and then to educate as well and, and to do some of that.
And what sort of happened over the last few years, and especially now with just how much more involved fans have been getting on social media. I do find myself in that position of being the umpire defender. And I don't, I mean, I kind of like that, but I, I also just want it to be my, my value. Is that I want people to understand and I want people to improve.
And sometimes that means the umpires are wrong. And I get to try to explain how that may have come about and what I think is more important and you know, how they needed to look at this part of the play. And that would've been a, a better reflection. And, and given you a better decision in that moment and maybe this positioning and blah, blah, blah. But when it comes to the, the trolling that has happened recently, like, I don't know if you heard after that Canada Ireland series, that Diego Barbas, he was the video umpire in that case, we're, we're actually gonna get to video umpiring in, in just a second here.
I can tell we're, we're winding our way towards it, but
Brendan: the segue is getting there.
Keely: I know, I know, but this is just too much fun, but Diego there, um, after that second match where Ireland lost and obviously we were very upset, understandable. Um, he got death threats on Twitter. As if this were football or something like death threats.
Yeah. What are you talking about? So he had to, he had to shut down his Twitter and I was checking on him, make sure he was okay and all that kind of stuff. And it was really awful. And then, um, after, you know, there was, there was a problem in the world cup and there was a problem at, at Commonwealth games.
And it just always seems to happen when India is on the field, they gotta stop doing that where there's technical issues with shootouts or timings and things like that. Yeah. And yeah, just the, the abuse that gets focused and, and these people put up pictures of the umpires and they're like, this umpire is racist and biased and it's like, really guys really is that, is that…
Brendan: Yeah. We've we've yeah. We've had, um, I mean, on the death threat thing, I think that's, it's just, it's the classic everything's been blown out of proportion. Um, at the end of the day, it was like incredible, incredible the way it kind of. Unfolded that, cause I remember, I remember watching it cuz one of our, um, we've got a few Northern Irish guys that have moved across to England.
Um, I was speaking to them about it and they said it was obviously it's a travesty in terms of like the end of the day. You don't want it to happen the way it's happened. Um, but also to go to the extreme of death threat is just baffling. Um, and on the, the racial stuff on the, on the, yeah, on Twitter with India, um, I find it absolutely baffling.
Brendan: So obviously when they, when our boys played against, so in the third game at the Commies, when England player, the amount of abuse again came through, uh, is absolutely fascinating. Yeah. Um, I find it really interesting because it's, it's people that it's, it's a, it's a lack of education to be perfectly honest with you.
Yeah. Um, because it's just a ridiculous notion to even suggest it um, And then obviously with the, as you say, with the, the hooter and, and, um, the time not really working in the semi, it was semifinal, wasn't it? Um, between India and Australia at the Commies for the women. Yeah. Um, we had that same problem in the EHL.
So Surbiton, we played against Waterloo Ducks in, oh God, what year will have been 20 18, 17, 20 18. I'd forgotten about that. We played them in the, we played them in the knockouts. We drew, um, we felt we had a really good opportunity. Um, they went on to win it, but in the shootout, um, our youngster Zach, well, who's now unbelievable.
Zach Wallace, um, took his shuffles, scored it, who didn't work then got brought back, missed it. Um, and then obviously there's. We've got people kicking off on things, but never got to the point of the, the death threat side of things. But it was obviously people were incredibly frustrated at just the system.
You can't blame anybody, but the system and that's, it's just how it works. But to go down the route of race is quite, again, quite baffling from Commonwealth games. I think it's people that passionate, but the passion's probably been placed in the wrong place. Unfortunately. And then the driver is, as you say, social media and suddenly you've got at the end of the day when you've got a country that's passionate and it's got so many hockey fans in it.
Brendan: Unfortunately there's a lot of people that jump on the bandwagon and yeah, that's, that's the danger of it is the fact that it, then it just starts to snowball snowball, snowball, and eventually you're dealing with a tweet that's got a thousand retweets or whatever it is on. Yeah. For just basically from people just being poorly educated on, on the matter.
Keely: Yeah, exactly. And that's. I mean, that's why we're here, right? Is that we're gonna, yeah, we're gonna get some stuff straight today. That's what we're doing. um, and you know, it's funny like here, here's Ben talking about Indian Hockey Twitter, and I've talked to a few people like this. I was talking to Simon Mason about this the other day, about how I don't think it's that there's more terrible people or, or that one country or one region or something like that have worse fans than others.
I just think when you have a population of fans so big, statistically speaking, if 3% of them are complete assholes, then that means that there's 20,000 of them . Whereas if they were Canadian fans, that'd be two. You know, so it's a totally different, it's scale. It's about scale and, and algorithm scale. And yeah, so,
Brendan: I mean, if you look, if you, if you look at the, so you look at the FIH voting in terms of like with the year when they took a clean sweep of everything, it's, it's nothing but share numbers.
I think if you spoke to, and I'm not saying that the players and the staff that were voted and won everything, aren't good. I'm not saying that. But what I'm saying is it was a bit confusing in terms of the end of the day to take a clean sweep, despite not winning any major tournaments on any side.
Brendan: And yeah, they did very well. And they're coming back to the forefront of where India used to be in the world in terms of the hockey things. So win a clean sweep, despite not winning anything is quite bizarre. When there's clearly, and the other options, like we have the long discussion in terms of,
on the podcast. We've discussed it multiple times at the end of the day. If you've got a population that's and you're gonna go to the online side of things, the biggest population will win. There's no argument about it, obviously, but at the end of the day, if you've got a million people and they're all gonna, and you've got countries that are obviously smaller in terms of hockey nations at the end of the day are a lot smaller.
apart from India, India has got the biggest following. Yeah. So unsurprisingly, I mean, probably you've got what Argentina are probably second in terms of that general population of just the size of the country and how much hockey probably means in terms of the passion in that side of things.
Keely: Yeah. That's fair.
Brendan: But no one matches India. Yeah. Not even close. Yeah. And that's the bit, that's kind of really interesting when you, when you give the fans the opportunity fair play. They took it with both hands and they ran with it. Yeah, absolutely. And then obviously clean sweep, clean sweep happened, but at the same time, Go from that point of view, like I think it's, it's one of the, it's really interesting as you say sheer numbers is unfortunately the thing that either looks great at times,
and on the flip side can really make a country not look yeah. Or can make a situation, not look great at all. Just simply because it's sheer numbers.
Keely: Yeah, absolutely. Oh, let's see. Here we go. we somebody's getting us back to the initial topic and yeah. Okay. I'm gonna start this and we'll get to it because this has just been it's it's been really cool to talk about all this stuff, but the whole reason that we're here is that you took to Twitter and you had these great ideas.
And I, I hope it didn't come across like I was just passing off. Like, I don't wanna talk about this, but I also feel like there were just so many things, because like, these are really great ideas that you had. But even with our little warmup, I think you're probably looking at some of the issues maybe in a bit of a different light, because it's a little more complicated than just, you know, can we fix the technology?
So, so here you were asking for some, some feedback on these ideas and one of your, I, uh, your ideas was to mic up the umpires, the video, and the two pitches, not only to each other, but to the TV commentary in the speakers at the stadium. So ha you, you, I know you watched a lot of games during the women's world cup, cuz you were, you were recovering and you admitted that on the podcast.
And I was like, that's so cool. We were all watching the same games together. Um, did you notice the difference between the experience at Amstelveen and Terrassa in those two stadiums?
Brendan: Not, not particularly, uh,
Keely: Because at Amstelveen, the umpires were micd throughout. The pitch umpires were micd throughout. So you could hear everything that they were saying to the players on the pitch.
But it at Terrassa they weren't. So we had no idea
Brendan: I'm guessing that's because was that because the setup was there better at Amsterdam?
Keely: Well, I mean, we don't have to get all judgey with better, but it was different. And, and I guess part of it is that obviously Amstelveen has a lot more experience putting on those kind of top level
um, matches. But one of the things that I learned in talking to a few people is that the, the production set up for video referral and for the umpire's communications is absolutely different at every single venue, because it's a different production team at every single venue. And I think when there was the weekend of the pro league where, uh, the ladies were playing China and you, I think you guys were playing, maybe you were playing Spain or you were playing somebody else down at Lee Valley and they brought in a football crew.
Keely: So when they couldn't get the communication between the video umpire and the pitch umpire, and everybody was standing there for three minutes going, what the hell's happening and the pitch umpires like, oh, this is awkward. The, the, the crew that was responsible for that entire production had never done hockey before.
That's something I know, no, these, these are the things that get in the way.
Brendan: It's, it's funny because when it's the interesting thing is like, as you say, like, I didn't notice because I just assumed, so for example, I didn't notice the difference between Amsterdam and Spain, but what's interesting is I probably did notice.
I just didn't realize. Um, cuz as you say, like I'm so used to, you used to hearing the umpires on it that I just didn't notice that it didn't happen in Spain. Um, which is really interesting. And as you say, if you don't have a production team that are used to working with hockey, it becomes a little bit more complicated as you say, because football just doesn't have that problem.
Um, and I wonder if the education side of it is, do you use then rugby crews or crews that are used to working with rugby? Because they work almost a very similar system to how we would. Um, in terms of that setup. Um, Cause that's what that's, what's really interesting. And on, I saw Steve Tabb's question thing underneath, in terms of the, he put in a point about the, um, countries aren't used to using it.
Brendan: I think the beauty is that if you use this system, for example, One, it gives a training opportunity in pro league. So if, if we're told there's people that aren't used to working, it, that's a completely different ballgame to people who we assume are top of the game, if that makes sense. Um, but also it gives that opportunity for umpires to discuss.
And if they think there's a better angle, actually, then you can change the angle to help each other out. And this, that, and the other, it kind of just works. A little bit more supportive rather than necessarily getting rid of, um, yeah. Which I think gives a real opportunity for the, the smaller countries who don't normally get that, um, exposure to actually utilize it to the full of its advantage.
Keely: Yeah, absolutely. Well, that, that brings up a question that I, I don't wanna be all rhetorical about it, but what, what do you think goes into the training of a video umpire? Like how, how do you think international umpires train to take their spot in the booth?
Brendan: I assume almost like a video game style in terms of, they should just be given a little bit of almost play time with it and just kind of explore themselves.
um, at the same time, obviously it's pretty hard to get a film crew and everything else and it all to be there. But I think, I think what you've gotta understand is basically you're working on angles the whole time. So can you find, can you find the correct angles quickest? Yeah, I think is probably one of, one of the big things.
Um, and I think as you say, like to, to be able to, to be able to get better at it at the end of the day, you've gotta just do it more.
Keely: Yes. Yes.
Brendan: So if it means that post game you're sat there for 15, 20 minutes and just playing around with angles and things like that and trying to work out what the best way to find things or, or as you say, like at the end of the day, if you get a referral and it takes, let's say for example, it takes five minutes.
. Can you get another, can you basically go back and see, well, how can I shorten that to four minutes or to three minutes or to two minutes? Cause we're not saying everything has to be five seconds or 10 seconds. Yeah. But the more we can shorten the longer ones that's when the improvement comes massively in the sport gains its speed again.
Um, but as you say, I don't, I don't know what they've, I don't know what the training is in terms of how people get better at it. My assumption is in the same way that you get better with a video game or you get better at playing, you just have to do it more and more and more until you become more and more comfortable with the technology.
Brendan: Yeah. But as you say, if the, unfortunately, if the teams are working differently and there's different ways of doing it in different countries and things like that, that then becomes very awkward. Yeah. Um, and that's when at the end of the day, that's probably something that we've not necessarily, well, we didn't know.
Yeah. I think our assumption is because it's BT Sport that produced a pro league, everything should be exactly the same, because it's the same technical blanket team, but obviously it's not .
Yeah, I it's never gonna be.
Keely: I mean, I, I'm not, I'm not sure in depth about the intricacies of how they go out to subcontract the actual production of certain events, but, but it's yeah, you, you know, the players, the umpires, the technical officials, they can be presented with a completely different setup, you know, every time.
But one of the fun parts about video umpiring is that just like with, say, in getting paid for games, it doesn't exist. So the first time that I sat down in a video booth to do a video referral, I had had zero training, zero, zero training. And one of the weird things about the Commonwealth games is that you've got.
It's an invitational. Okay. It's an invitational cuz it's not open to the entire world or yeah. Yeah. A qualification system that we're, that we're used to, that that really funnels up. And so yeah, you have, you have teams like, you know, Ghana and Kenya and you know, rocking up. And one of the biggest ironies for me watching the Commonwealth games was that I think it was the, the Kenyan women or, or maybe was the Ghanaian women.
They were, they lost like one video referral for the whole tournament and they, every other one of them they're like, yep, yep. Got it, got it. They knew exactly when to refer and when not to, and they won like incredible amount of referrals. We're like, where did you guys learn how to do that? And maybe they watched a lot of game footage who knows. But for the umpires, you, you get plunked down and you might get an opportunity before the matches start to sit down and, and they'll be a briefing where they'll go through the procedures and things like that.
One of the challenges is, is that I remember back in the day in Andy Mair or somebody like that, they had a different system where they were able to manipulate the controls themselves. They were able to, yeah. Oh, go back a few frames, go forward a few frames and see what they needed to do, but they have to sit there with a director and they have to say, say, I wanna see this and I wanna see this angle.
Can you go back to this thing? No, no, no. Two more seconds. Two more. No, it's no, it's, it's the part at the top of the circle. I don't wanna see that part. I wanna see the part at the top of the circle. And then you'll have language barriers. So you might be Insa. You're working with a production team who are, you know, majority Spanish speaking, and maybe you're from a country where English, wasn't your first language.
And you're trying to speak in English to somebody whose first language also isn't in English. And you're trying to get these things together. And I think that is often one of the factors that delays the response in you guys getting, you know, the, the decision out there and it's, it's really stressful for the umpires as well.
Cuz they're like, no, no, no, I want that footage. No. Okay. Go back to that thing. And then it might take two or three angles and then they say, you know what? The best angle would be the one we don't have, which is say flat on with the top of the circle, but boy, wouldn't that be handy to be able to see if the ball's come outside the circle or not.
Ugh. Who knew? You know, so
Brendan: yeah, I think the other, the other thing on it is, so obviously teams got to a point where they would ask a question. If the question was phrased incorrectly, you basically would lose a referral because the umpires would then ask the question incorrectly to what you're actually trying to get, which then meant that referrals then became more and more vague so eventually it got to the point now where it's like, there's a foul in the D somewhere.
And it's your responsibility as the video on part to go find it. And we get frustrated because we're like, we know exactly what it is. But if we ask exactly what it, what it is, there's a chance that we ask it wrong. That then means we just lose it automatically. So then you, we're waiting five minutes for something that we know has happened.
And this is kind of back to my point of if it's on a big screen and we can see it. why, why are we not able to act on it? Why do we have to wait for somebody else? Who's on a smaller screen where it's gonna be more difficult. , who's also, as you say, working potentially with a language barrier, this, that, and the other there's so many different factors.
Why can we not just go? You, you can see it. Cause we've said it before, like you can literally see the foul and they've gone. Mm. Sorry. Can't talk to you right now. And it's like, that's fine. But we're trying to say like, it's there. It's there in front of you. Yeah. And that's
Brendan: the bit kind of that's,
Keely: That's a really, that's an really interesting part.
So I had, Ayanna McClean on, uh, the show, I don't know, forever ago in COVID years. And she's one of the best video umpires in the world because she's gotten, you know, a ton of experience. And she talked about how at her first tournament, she was appointed exclusively as a video umpire. And she was, she was in the booth for like seven games a day sort of thing.
And so the volume of matches she's done. And as you were talking about, it's all about reps, right. But, um, she was saying that, that one of the things that she's had to train herself to do in the booth is not to take, because they are watching the game. So that, that was one of the interesting points that people were bandying about on Twitter.
And they were saying, well, wouldn't it help if they watched the game? And it's like, yeah, they are watching the game. And I'm sure, cuz we all do this as umpires, we're watching and we're making decisions in our mind. We're like: foul, foot, corner, advantage. And we're, we're doing all these things in our heads, but she said she has to teach herself not to come to a conclusion based on what the big screen is showing, because she'll see something from a different angle that doesn't get broadcast.
That'll be like, oh actually it totally didn't hit her foot. It actually hit the defender's foot. Yeah. Whoa. And, and then what we're all seeing on the broadcast is not at all what they have access to in the booth. And that happened at the Olympic Qualifier in Canada. That's happened on, you know, a lot of big calls that, you know, were just so hard to explain.
And then after the game, it's not like the umpire rocks up to a, a press conference and then says, hi, let me explain that decision to you. It doesn't happen. So there there's a lot of, sort of, you know, weird complications that go into that.
Brendan: Yeah. And we had the, we had the two, so the, the two things, so what's interesting is like, as you say, because you don't get any formal training but also this is the first generation where it's happened.
Yeah. So is it now a case. The training will now come because actually there's now people here who have been in that situation that actually realized we need, there needs to be training for people to get better quickly. Um, and I, I was speaking to, uh, Barry and Becky Middleton, um, hockey royalty in the UK.
Um, in terms of, so they were discussing that actually potentially might be that there might be a fourth umpire that comes in, um, because of the amount of off the ball incidents that are happening at the moment. Um, actually what it then gives license to is, to umpires, to umpire the game, a third umpire to actually watch the game and video umpire.
Brendan: And the fourth umpire is looking for stuff off the ball because at the moment there's been quite a few. So we had one with Efraims and Wallace in the semi-final off the ball. Yeah. Um, we had Gurjant and Sorsby in the India England game.
Keely: Yeah. I covered that in one of the other shows.
Brendan: Obviously the Panasar Griffith scenario that was dealt with pretty well, to be honest in terms of, I thought the umpires did really well.
Um we've but we've had it before in the pro league, the first year in our semi final against Australia, we had a corner, uh, went for a head side tip in, so left deflector went in to deflect it. blockers just hit him completely off the ball. He's concussion for three, four weeks. It's a horrendous, it's a horrendous tackle.
It's a ban. Yeah, both umpires didn't see it. The video referral didn't pick it up. so then unfortunately, what happens is they just give em a card and it's dealt with there. And then, whereas actually retrospectively it was Hayward on Martin. It was a horrendous tackle, needs to get dealt with and it needs to get dealt with somebody else. And that's where the potentially the fourth umpire comes in because the, and again, it goes back to because the speed of the sport is so quick these days. Yeah. At the end of the day, umpires only got two eyes. Yeah, absolutely. And, and the two umpires are gonna be watching the ball. They're gonna be watching the game, the third umpire.
It just gives that fourth umpire that opportunity to basically check around the pitch, to see if anything happens. And then it might be the case that actually they can look at the video, for example, whilst the game's going on, there's a separate feed where they can watch, go back to the video and see if it is picked up on camera.
And then be like, uh, just to let you know, there's been an off the ball instant, so, and so this, so, and so that, done, dealt with done. Yeah. There's no issues, that's it done? Um, cause that's, that's the other thing that's happening that potentially might help out in terms of that side of things.
Brendan: But again, it goes back to facilities, it goes back to umpires getting paid. It goes back to the whole issue. Probably finance in terms of, can it, can that be the next stage? Because again, that's another thing that can help yeah. Push the sport again.
Keely: To, to be totally fair. I think, I think this is one of the most achievable, um, you know, suggestions that you and, and a lot of other people on Twitter were talking about this, how, you know, why can't the video umpire be the one to say, Hey, cuz they are watching the game and they have access to all these different feeds and they could be like, oh, I just saw that thing.
They need to, they just need to be empowered. They need, it needs to be in their briefing. It needs to be in the video umpire regulations that are published for all the tournaments. And, and I I've, I've got those, uh, on speed dial to, to always be looking at. But if it was explicitly in there, if the video umpire observes a breach of the code of conduct, you know, because that's ultimately what, what you guys are kind of getting held to.
Um, they may. Uh, you know, communicate with the pitch umpires and give a recommendation at an appropriate stage of play. Problem solved. And they're there. Yeah. You don't even need them, you don't even need a, a fourth umpire. They are the fourth umpire cuz you have the two on the pitch. You have a reserve umpire.
So you have, Somebody at the, at the, uh, table who has their view on things, which can be very useful because they're looking at a different angle than anybody who's actually on the pitch. And then the video. Between, between those two observers, you have enough, but it needs to be added to the regulations to say an umpire can do this.
Cuz you can imagine what would happen, right. If all of a sudden outta nowhere and especially if the communication isn't on the broadcast, the pitch umpire stops, time is going like this. Right. Gotcha. Pulls out a red card and, and send somebody off and everybody expects, oh, what's happening because that's not picked up by the directors.
It's not put through on the broadcast, the communication isn't shared. So nobody knows what's happening. The commentators don't even know what's happening because most of the time or some of the time, they can't hear what's going on between those two. So they can't even relay that to the broadcast. So that now that I think of it, that's the thing that really needs to change is that overall access to those coms and a big part of that is expense.
So I was told, yeah, um, by very reputable sources who will remain anonymous, that one of the reasons that we don't get to see all of the angles that the video umpires do is that the, the tournament, whoever that is, purchases a package of images that they have the rights to transmit. So the FIH gets the rights to three cameras at that end three cameras on that end.
And that's it. But there might be 12 cameras at the facility, that you've got one over the goal you've, you know, and another one over the goal, and you got a couple different ones for the video referral purposes, but they haven't purchased the rights to those cuz they can't afford it.
Brendan: Yeah. This, this is, you know, cause I, I only learned about this because when Holland came over, when we played against Netherlands in London, they had their own feed, they had their own highlights package.
that FIH didn't have. And so they had, as you say, like different angles and that's the only way I, when you, when you're saying then that's the only reason I've just been like, hold on. Yeah, that makes complete sense. I've witnessed it. I was like, oh, that's quite, it's quite interesting that as you say, they don't want to.
Brendan: And again, as you say, it's expense at the end of the day is it's always money, isn't it?
Keely: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It's I don't think it's, it's lack of willpower, but I, you know, the FH, isn't gonna walk out there and say, hi guys, we can't afford to put all these broadcast angles out. They're gonna, they're gonna gloss over that and make it not sound like quite so much.
Yeah. But in that process of trying to, you know, maintain their reputation, the umpires get thrown under the bus because there's no other way to explain it. And it doesn't matter how many times I say it on Twitter. Somebody's like, it's so clear in the Scotland. Scotland South Africa women's match to the Commonwealth games.
Yeah. When there was that big argument over about the ball, outside the circle and things like that. And they're like, look at this grainy picture that I've blown up from the broadcast it's clearly, you know, yeah. Outside. And it's like, it's not like there's nothing clear about that at all. Maybe it is.
Maybe it isn't from that picture. But trust me, if we just tilted it this way, the camera was just over here. You'd see something totally different. Yeah. And it's just so hard to translate that and to get that out there. And we, we want players to trust. We want, we want you guys to feel like we're doing a good job and you're getting good decisions and that sort of thing, but we can't, but we're hamstrung,
Brendan: Well, this is, this goes back to kind of like, as you say, like, let's say for example, on that, what you could have is on the, let's say a corner, you could have the reserve umpire go and stand at the top of the D and just see if the ball goes out. if they had, if they had that opportunity, they could go and stand on that line.
So then the umpire can watch what's going on. Who's in the D the second umpire can then watch to see if there's any danger in terms of the damage or anything like that. And you've got that third umpire, the video umpire, you can watch it as well. I think the interesting thing will be, as you say, when let's say, for example, everyone's held to that code of conduct, is let's say for example, there's gonna be interpretations about what it looks like to different people.
So I think like that's the one danger with, at the end of the day, hockey's a non-contact sport, but it is a contact sport. Yeah. It's become more and more contact and that's not a bad thing. I think it's actually quite a good thing. It's just controlled contact is the big thing about it. Yeah. And that's the next bit is kind of if, if that's the way that FIH, wanna go, I don't, I mean, I don't speak to anybody about that stuff.
Um, it'd be really interesting to know if that's the route they'd want to go is kind of, that would be the next bit of the education bit. So for example, like. in the same way that you have, like, um, in rugby you get shepherding and in football you get shepherding, you get people obviously like getting tripped up and things like that.
It, then it becomes, is it innocuous? Is it deliberate? Like this, that and the other, there's so many different nuances that naturally people will do differently and see differently. I think the big thing is kind of the more, Consistent we can get. And again, it takes a little bit of time to get that consistency and continuity.
The more we get to that point, that's when it's gonna be, okay. Well, actually this isn't a discussion point anymore because it's working great. Yeah. And that's the ideal scenario is that it's not a discussion point at the moment. It's a discussion point because things aren't going that well in terms of it's not been done well at the moment.
Keely: Yeah. Okay.
Brendan: Compared to what it compared to what potentially it could get to. And, and as you say, like, unfortunately, umpires get quite a lot of the wrath because the end of the day, a mistake. Because they've got this extra layer of support in terms of that video stuff. actually, it's not necessarily helping them out as much as it probably should do.
And that's the next bit is can we help, can, can the sport help them out to then get to a point where it's not talking point, everything's grand people are supported then suddenly, okay, well it's back on the players. Then if mistakes happen, then mistakes happen that sport. And that's the other thing it's kind of the end of the day.
Everybody makes mistakes. Like the video's gonna make mistakes at times. That's, that's just natural. It's can we limit the amount of mistakes or can we make it more consistent?
Keely: And that brings me to an interesting question that, that I would ask you because, um, I have experience as a fan watching a different set of sports than, than you do.
So when you talk about rugby union and you know, other, other sport ball, I, I'm not sure because I'm not super embedded in that culture. And I know so many of the things, so many of the, the procedures have roots in the sport that a stranger to the sport wouldn't understand and sort of puts me in the position of what a lot of people are when they watch hockey.
They have no idea why things are done this way. They're like, I don't get it. This is stupid. We should be doing it like rugby does or, or this sort of thing. But what do you think of the thought, and I've, I've read this in a few places that video referral, VAR, whatever procedure it is in, whatever sport actually has been proven not to reduce the amount of controversy in matches, but actually makes it worse. Because without video referral, it's like, ah, humans, we get it. It happens. But when you introduce an element that's supposed to eliminate or even reduce mistakes and mistakes still occur, the, the separation of that mistake. From not even the, the separation, but, but still the, the, the frustration that people have, that things aren't going right.
But you've got this technology, you've got these dials. You can turn, you can see it plainly on a screen. It just, it, it gets people even more angry. What, what would you say to that? Does that make sense to you? Or do you think that really, we should be able to get to point in sports in all kinds of sports that video review should be flawless and help everybody else.
Brendan: Yeah, I think it's it's it is amazing. Isn't it? Cause we we've, again, there's players, like we have this discussion at the end of the day for humans making a decision. So let's say for example, we have coaches that umpire in training sessions, , you know, they're gonna make mistakes cause it's not their job.
Yeah. So you have to try and get on with it and yeah. You get frustrated about things and kind of it's a bit frustrating. Um, I think like it's, what's really interesting is kind of, um, is that point of like, what's the best way to describe it? I think, I think what's really interesting is the more, the more you put money into it, the more it has to be.
Perfect. Yeah. So the minute, so the minute you get a video referral system, it has to be better. It has to be better. And if it's not okay, we're wasting fine. You're wasting money, but more, the more, the fact that like. As you say, like if decisions aren't going well or like the credit card. So let's say for example, the video, let's see, let's use the Sarah Jones, uh, Wales versus, um, oh God.
Who are they playing? South Africa. Yeah, they're playing South Africa. Um, that for me is a stone-walled stroke. Like there's no thought in my mind about it. Um, but the minute you bring a video into it is you start looking at the speed of it. You start looking about the decisions, you start looking at, like where the bodies are, things like that.
Suddenly there's a little bit edge is a little bit of doubt and that can grow. And the minute's a bit of doubt. You can't clearly give an answer. And that's the bit that like, for me as a, as a player and I've watched it back multiple times, I've watched it on, on your show. Like for me, that's still a stroke.
Brendan: There's, it's a no brainer as a player. . Um, but then as you, the minute you get a 10%, bit of doubt because you've managed to slow everything down and you can see, uh, no advice possible. Or 20% doubt. Mm. I can't give you a hundred percent. This has hit a foot or this, that, and the other. I can't really give you an answer because there's that little bit of doubt.
Whereas I think that's the, that's the beauty of it is the fact that it does give you clear, cut certain things, but the minute you bring in interpretation, you're not gonna get. So for example, with VAR, VAR yeah. It creates controversy, but what's brilliant about it is the fact that it goes, normally, if it's not offside or something like that in the same way that like American football would be.
If once you passed the line of scrimmage, you throw a ball it's it's that it's clear-cut. It is isn't there's no. But the minute you go for, like, was there a foul in the buildup? Was there a shirt tug in the buildup? Like this kind of stuff is then goes back to my point of like, if people aren't exactly the same in terms of their thinking, the interpretation will always create controversy and that that's just the nature of sport and that's the nature of human human error. So we talk about when you, as you say, when you say like, it actually creates more controversy. Yeah, of course it will because we haven't eliminated human error.
What we might have done is eliminated one part of human error. Or human decision making. But what we still left is a massive space for interpretation. And this is where, like my point, my point was, uh, on my tweet was like, if you get three people working together, you're gonna reduce that amount of interpretation to a little bit less and it's still not gonna be perfect.
But what you might get is someone saying it from a different point of view, different point of view, and actually someone who's extreme before might reign it back in or whatever it might be. It might work well. It might be horrendous. It really might. It might not work at all because you've got three people singing from completely different hymn sheets.
And it goes awfully. At least. But at least you give the opportunity to try it, to then know. Okay, this doesn't work. Let's go back to what it was or let's go to just two umpires. So just the umpire that made the decision and the video umpire and they see it on the big screen, like. Or maybe it's just the two reserve umpires, discuss it like it or the reserve.
Brendan: Sorry, the reserve umpire and the video umpire. Yeah. I think the more you can, we can get to like that point of conversation. I think that's, what's interesting with it is that it gives just a different potential feel. That may work may not. Yeah. Um, so like it, so, uh, if, if you look at like NBA basketball, for example, it normally is there's a little bit of conferring and sometimes, and what's really been interesting is, and they might, so a guy called Richard Jefferson used to play old player now wants become a referee they miked him up and he was just discussing things with the umpires themselves.
Like the previous referees obviously done it for a long time and he's coming in and he, and he says openly, he's like, I've not even thought about it that way. That makes complete sense to why you made that decision then, and they've had like proper, like you can hear the discussions going on and that's the bit that I think would be really interesting is kind of, yeah.
There's always gonna be human error, but can we get to a point where people understand the human error? That then suddenly the judgment isn't, you're a terrible umpire. It's actually, that's interesting. You had that discussion. Um, can you see it from this point of view? Can you see it from our point of view and kind of then, then what you get is that little bit more working together in cohesion that actually then people aren't working against each other people are working with.
Brendan: And there's always gonna be,
Keely: I, I see the merits in that in that process. And obviously, I mean, you've watched a couple of, you know, minutes of shows and you can, you can see that I'll pull out a clip for a decision and 45 minutes later, I'm at a very solid maybe. Like, yeah, that, that could be, you know, sort of thing.
Like it depends. Yeah. Sometimes I feel pretty, pretty clear on something and then another time I can't, but I do all that work to talk through it. And yet, you know, I'll still have 40 people in the comments, half of whom agree with me and half of whom don't and You know, the level of subjectivity that we have in the game is such that not only do you have sort of people who, um, people need to, we have this need to explain things better.
But what kind of skills do umpires need in order to be able to explain things better? So now, now we're introducing a whole new element. Not only do you need umpires are extremely fit and fast and know the rules, but also particularly on, you know, your plane of playing field, playing field. They need to be able to comput to communicate excellently in English.
Like not just know 50 words of vocabulary, but to actually be able to outline sophisticated concepts in a concise manner so that they could do as you're, um, suggesting here that a conversation happens between, you know, the video umpire and the pitch umpire, or the two pitch umpires or the whole, like whoever that's not easy stuff.
I don't know if you around, back in the day, when they had devoted or devoted, dedicated video umpires. Andy, me, Lisa Roach, Carol Che. Um, there, I, I think Floppy Nel was one as well, um, where they would be the ones traveling to a tournament and they would do almost all of the video umpire appointments. And you got Andy Mair and I mean, he's, Andy Mair, he's sitting back and he is, let me tell you a story about this play.
And he did the whole Sean Connery thing and it would be completely awesome. I loved every second of it. And you know, the fans loved it too. And, and I know he misses it terribly, but that's a very special skill that he's developed because he's a teacher, he's done all these things in his life. And then he umpired at the Olympics a few times.
And you know, so he had, he had one of the most decorated umpiring careers. So he gets to this level and he's able to do that. How many other umpires are gonna be able to develop those skills and get to that level when it's pretty hard just to make good decisions on the pitch on the regular, you know.
Brendan: Yeah. A hundred percent.
Keely: So it's, yeah, it's a whole nother package of skills, again, that maybe we can develop as umpires and we can get to that point, but we need a lot more help. We need a lot more support to get to that. Um, so yeah. You talked about the big screens, um, and how, you know, that would be good. I just think that yeah, the big screens should be used and really the, the broadcast that we see at home, we just have to get to the point where they're seeing what the video umpire is seeing.
Keely: in those same angles.
Brendan: I agree.
Keely: And as soon as, and, and that does happen occasionally, you know, in, in some of your, um, you know, some of your pro league matches you'll be at a, at a facility and, and all of a sudden you'll be like, oh, that's clearly the video umpire angle, because they're going beep beep beep back three frames, four, three frames, and they're, and then they're flipping to another angle quickly and you're like, oh, okay.
Like that doesn't look good for production purposes, but you can understand why they're, they're going through that because they're trying to analyze the play. And yeah, I think that would be useful, super useful to have that's kind of one of the necessary things.
Brendan: I think the other thing about it is kind of the more you have that stuff is the more. You kind of engage that TV audience and you, you basically educate more. So rather than constantly talking about the simple context of the sport at the end of the day, I actually think hockey's not that difficult to understand in terms of the simplicity of it. Um, but the more you can get that kind of, so as you say, like, if you can get an umpire talking over, going through three frames and discussing, and literally just being like, I'm currently just looking to see if there's a stick block or a stick tackle,
that gives the, the commentator that ability to explain in roughly like 10 seconds, what that is and that's it done. And then you kind of, you almost don't have to overcommunicate then it's actually the simplicity of it is. So, as you're saying, when we're talking about like explaining things quite in depth, the more you can hear it all, the more actually the umpires don't necessarily have to, because you can hear the discussion going on.
And that's the bit, that's the bit that I, think's more interesting that kind of like at the end of the day, I don't like, I don't like arguing with umpires. I find it quite awkward. Um, and I always try as a, I always try to player to kind of like build a bit of rapport with umpires because I think it's, I don't see the point in us trying to fight each other when we can just work together and we can solve everything.
Brendan: Like at the end of the day, if I'm make a mistake and a give away a corner, that's, that's my responsibility. Whereas if I'm making the right decision on the pitch, actually it should make the umpires job pretty easy. And then we should actually be able to be able rapport get through the game, the, the game shake of hands.
And if we're lucky enough have beer afterwards, if, if in a perfect world.
Keely: Yeah. Yeah.
Brendan: Um, whereas I think that's, what's, I think that's, what's really interesting is kind of like, sometimes it feels like you're battling for the sake of battling. Without really having a reason to do so. And that kind of like the, you get into the point where you can have that open conversation with each other and you can work with each other.
It becomes a lot. You don't hear half the conversation, then suddenly you get a hostile goalkeeper, you get a hostile half back, you get a hostile midfielder because there's been no understanding. And as you say, when you don't see the angles that the video umpires are seeing, that's when the confusion comes in, because what we see as players, we automatically think is perfect and right.
And it's not yeah. The conversation that you can have is then actually, oh yeah. Actually you can see it on the big screen. Well, that makes sense to why the decision's been given or not given in quite a lot of cases is kind of, that makes more sense. But if we don't get that, if we don't get that discussion or that exposure to it as players
We're the same as people in the stands or people at home or the commentators, or even the other umpire. Like there's just confusion.
Keely: Right. So you're saying
Brendan: it's just a lack.
Keely: So that, that conversation, if, if you, as players can be privy to it, somehow that that will help alleviate your frustrations in, in understanding why there's decisions.
Brendan: Yeah. A hundred percent. I think, I think the, the funny thing is, is when most players are asking questions, they're normally trying to either: one; find out the rule. Because some rules, like the aerial rule, people still don't know what the right rule is. Um, but also like in the context, it's just trying to find out what the actual decision is being made based upon
Majority of the time. So, so that's what I mean by like, because we're having to be vague with questions. When we get vague responses, it makes no sense because what we actually wanna act is a certain thing has happened. Or some to be fair in certain context, you're just asking, is there a foul at the end of the day, 10 seconds left in the game, whatever it is.
But like, there are times where you, you know, exactly what's happened, but to try and explain it is so difficult that then unfortunately. The actual incident that you're asking for. So like a third party, for example, is so specific to ask for that situation is actually, you know, it's gonna be it's cuz it's so subjective.
You just don't ask for it where you know, it's a foul, but you can't ask for it because you know, it's not gonna happen. So it's kind of, that's when it becomes really difficult when you're trying to like, whereas again, like for example, if we are asked the que, if we're asking a question and we, Mike, we can be picked up on the mic, for example, then all three umpires can hear it.
There's gonna be one umpire that will probably understand it better than the other ones. so for example, like there there's, there's potentially a higher chance that actually then the, the right decision gets made. If that makes sense. Yeah. Because there's just more and there's less interpretation of the question it's actually the question's just there.
Does that make sense? It's quite wordy.
Keely: Yeah, absolutely.
No, I, I totally get it. And it, it leads me to this question.
I'm I'm wondering what kind of training do you get as a player? in handling video referrals, because if you believe, and this is an arguable point in my view that these are pivotal moments in games that you know, can make the difference between, you know, one result and another result.
I don't subscribe to that strategy, but that's fine. How much training do you guys get on? Um, how you ask questions? Who asks questions? Who makes the decision to ask questions? And, and how do you handle the results afterwards? Is that something that you, you spend time in your trainings, your psych discussions, anything like that?
Brendan: So we've, so we've had, yeah, I've had quite a lot. It's quite interesting. We've had quite a few psych, well, I say quite a few, but it normally comes up in psych discussions. um, you normally, you normally ask others to see if they've seen what you've seen is normally the way, unless you're a hundred percent, if you're a hundred percent sure ask cause at the end of the day you ask, um, Whereas, like there's certain, certain times where you're like, you'd look around and if you don't have full confidence in the other people around that, they've seen the same thing.
You don't ask it. Um, so we, we are quite lucky at our base. We can, we've got somebody on a camera. So when it's gameplay stuff, there's an opportunity sometimes to be able to ask it. So we actually do train it. Oh, okay. Um, but what's frustrating is when you're a hundred percent, right. You know, you're right.
But you're quite specific and you don't get the decision in game is then actually you say, you go back. And so we go back and when, so some of us will look at the referrals that we use. Okay. We go back and we'll go. No, no, that's the right decision to use it. We just didn't get it this time. , but it's knowing that you're using it in the right way.
Right. Um, so we definitely go back and check. Okay. Because at the end of the day, if you don't have it at a pivotal moment, because you've wasted it on something crap. Well, that's, that's some you need to learn from that to learn, to use it better. So a lot of the time we don't, we try not to use it in interpretive situations because it's, we know it's the classic argument subjective versus objective.
Yeah. Is do you go actually, we need the objectivity side of it more. Yeah. So then, but at the same time, if there's something so blatant go for it. So we're quite like, I dunno, we're quite methodical in the way we use it, majority of the time. Yeah. Um, and we try to, a lot of the chat is about, about trying to take the emotion out of the decision just because, just because you want it to be right.
Doesn't necessarily mean it's right. Um, and that's the, that's the big thing that we've worked on as a group is to make sure that when we refer. So for example, the, the one in the Australia, England game in the semi. because, because our coaches had such an in depth discussion at the umpire's meeting about it all and because we would use it again, in that situation because we know it's the right.
We know it was dealt with wrong at the time. and we know we've, it's the right call to make. We just didn't get it in that game. , that's, that's one of them things, because it's, because that, we felt that was an objective situation rather than a subjective when it turned out to be subjective, unfortunately But it's that kind of like mindset in the same way that if India used it against us, for one of the goals, when England played against India and in the same, same thing, they should use it then, because it's, it's an objective situation. Like the end of the day, there was a specific rule. There were two things that were specifically dealt with aerial.
Into the 25 and in the D And free hits, they were the two big things that were special that were talked about at the umpires meeting. So then you use it in those situations and like, at the end of the day, it's just unlucky that it's not come off because it's the right decision. Just sometimes doesn't work out.
Keely: Yeah. I know exactly the, the goal you're talking about the, um, in the India game, but it happened like way up the pitch. It happened like deep, Deep in the other end. So there's no way, you know, you can't refer that, it's it like
Keely: That's even, even further away than, uh, I remember the, the Surbiton, Rott Weiss game at the EHL where, you know, Ruhr chested the ball down just outside the 23 and rocks in and scores a goal.
And, and it was just one of those complete angle things in the moment, but it's one of those where it's like, yeah, you know, you can see it on the replay that it happened, but it's outside of 23. Do you think that there should be a scope to change where referrals can be asked about or where the incidents could take place and you could refer that?
Brendan: I think it's, I, I don't think it should, but I think this is where the third and fourth umpire bit comes back in is I think because you have a different angle because you'll be middle of the pitch. You'll have again, a different angle that you can kind of almost start checking for almost like having cameras.
You just have four sets of eyes. And I think that makes a big difference in terms of being able to see the problem with, if you change the rule and take it outside the 23, there's so much more scope for referrals that it becomes a little bit ridiculous. Unless you say you can only use it on goals, for example. If it's outside the 25, then in which case. There might be, it might be a case of you have a 10 is it's gotta be within a ten second window or a five or an eight sec, whatever it might be. Yeah. You'd have to put a nuance to it because otherwise again, the referral you're looking at is gonna be, you've got a 45 second clip to try and find something.
Brendan: That's just gonna be nightmarish for that third part. I'm just gonna want the light.
Keely: Yeah. No, all good. No, that's, that's, that's a good point. And I think that's the big fear and it's not even just the timeframe, it's that within eight seconds of a goal being scored, there could be 14 things that happen and there's an advantage there.
And then there's a no benefit gained there and then there's definitely a foot there, but, uh, you know, you know, let's just play that on and see what happens. And then, and, and from a, from a ball that's taken from an interesting place, way down in the other defensive end for that to lead to, you know, all those eventualities.
Keely: There's so many other things that could have changed the path of that goal.
Brendan: A hundred percent.
Keely: So, how do you describe the causality? And it kind of gets back to my philosophy about decision making in games is that there is no decision that, that changes a game. Every decision changes, a game, every action changes a game.
It's a butterfly effect, and it just like everything is just flapping out there going in all these different directions. So it, it kind of takes me to the last thing I wanted to ask you about, which was now that we are, I think we both really understand how much money would be involved in trying to augment the technology.
There's a few procedural changes we could make. We could give the video umpire more responsibility to see off the ball code of conduct things, blah, blah, blah. But the technology that we'd have to pay for, I'm wondering for the two decisions, a tournament. Where it really comes into a play that, that amount of tech that's there, or it's not being properly applied.
Is it worth the money that the players aren't gonna earn and that, you know, don't go to the marketing of the, that entire tournament and doesn't go to supporting the umpires and, you know, and all these things when we are so strapped for money, does it, do we want to put all those resources into improving the tech behind our VR or maybe, you know, there's we got 99 problems and that ain't one, is that a possibility?
Brendan: Well, this is, I think, yeah. I, I, I think it needs to be there. I really do. I think video environment, I think it is the next stage of what we wanna get to, and I think it's the right thing to have it in the sport. I think my, my big bug bear, and this is with quite a few scenarios is basically like at the end of the day, you've gotta go out and got almost cold call and get some sponsors in, I think.
Um, do I think be, do I think hockey's worth being on board? It's a tough one. Um, I think you're probably better off finding online streaming platform that you can, that people can access it for cheaper. I think is probably a better opportunity where everybody can get it on the same, same streaming websites rather than going down the BT sport route, because as much as it's great.
It's a very much privilege to have BT sport, especially in the UK with the current prices and everything else going up and up and up and up. Yeah. TV's probably gonna be the first thing that gets cut because it's you just don't have to have it. Um, I think, I think for me, like the minute you've you change that is then actually do you then get your own support crew that moves around around and this, that, and the other.
Brendan: And actually it becomes a full-time role for certain individuals and it becomes just one crew that moves around. I don't, I dunno what the answer is. Um, but I think, I think for me, I think the video stuff has to stay in. I think if we lose that we lose a real competitive edge and it, and, and that's what I mean by, and I know it's not perfect, but it's still very good.
Keely: Oh yeah.
Brendan: It's can we at the top of the game, can we make it better and better that then it becomes almost, this is great. This is actually a real strong point of the sport at the moment. It's not a strong point. It's not the worst thing in the sport by a long stretch.
Brendan: But it's definitely not the perfect thing.
And as you say, like, could the money that whatever the lucrative deal is with BD sport or whatever it is for the pro league stuff, could that, could that go to potential better uses? Yeah, probably could. Yeah. Um, cuz at the end of the day, if we're talking about trying to progress the sport, there's a lot of things that aren't particularly right with it.
I mean, if you look at. If you look at certain decisions that have been made along the way by the FIH I'd question it quite heavily. Um, and I'd, and I'd love to hear the answers, but you never get the answers , which is always quite interesting. Um, but if we're talk, if we're talking certain decisions, I think it's really interesting that the BT sport deal, which is great.
I do love the fact it's on BT sport, but that's because I have BT sport. Um, I think it's a very different thing if you don't have it. And it's, and trying to get people to engage with a sport that already already people think is middle class. To try and get people to new people to engage in. It's quite difficult.
And that's, the bit is quite frustrating is kind of, yeah. And I've, I've talked to companies before I've had meetings with companies about how we can try and like make it less mainstream and make it more inner city and make it accessible to more and more people. Unfortunately, the problem is, is it costs money to get to that point?
But no, one's willing to put the money in to get to that point. And that's the, and that's where like, it goes back to kind of like the sponsorship stuff and like, what do you do? Do you try and get bigger sponsors in or do you just get money where you can, that can help promote and push and help people out along the route?
Brendan: And that's, that's crooks of crooks of the problem probably with hockey is the fact that we're probably asking quite a lot of money to sponsors. That aren't really that bothered about putting that much money in, but would contribute. Can we get to a point where we just financially help out more and more?
Do we get a hotels deal with FIH? that means that. Suddenly hotels cost cheaper for hosting nations. Do we then get a food sponsor or company sponsor that comes in? So actually what might be is that you then get Airbnbs for example, or something that kind of like, just that little bit more support where you can kind of, it, it won't look five star resorts, like that's not what we're asking, but what we're asking for is just kind of like, can we cut costs where we can,
To help push the other sides that are struggling a little bit more. Cause I think, I think the fact that you, I think the fact that umpires don't get supported is genuinely baffling to me because it doesn't make any sense. If we're talking about wanting the best for the sport, it doesn't make any sense if you're not prepared to look after the guys at the top, let alone
The trickle effect down. We need to start looking after people better, if we want to get the best out of everything. And unfortunately at the end of the day, if you've got a choice between a pro league trip to Argentina where you're not gonna get paid or work where you are gonna get paid, you're probably gonna choose the work.
Unfortunately, as much as you'd love to do the other one. Like the end of the day, there's only so much time people can get time off work as well. Kind of like people have got normal jobs. Like it doesn't, it doesn't work in terms of the long run. It just doesn't …
Keely: those, those umpires are making those choices every day, every day. And
Brendan: yeah, exactly.
Keely: And the, the net result of that is that you've got a class of people who have been able to rise to the top. And this is, this is no shade at all to anybody's up there. And I'm one of those people that when I was pursuing my Olympic dream, you know, I was in the extremely privileged position that I was able to go over to England for six seasons and spend all that time in the national league.
And that's the only reason I got any good whatsoever. I. But I could do that because I was in a very financially privileged spot. But I bet there are five women in Canada who could have been better umpires than me, but didn't have the financial resources I did. So they didn't have the opportunity to travel abroad and not have to work, you know, for those months.
And, and, you know, didn't have family over there and, and all those sort of things. So you, you're eliminating a bunch of people who might have the skill sets that we need that might be excellent orators, and, and might be really great with video technology and might be really great at building rapport with players, but because they're not rich enough, they can't do it essentially to put it in very plain terms.
So that hurts the sport, that hurts you guys that hurts the game. It's not, it's not good enough. It's, it's just not.
Brendan: I think, I think that's the other thing is kind of like. For me, the big thing is kind of not admitting that. at the end of the day, finance is a problem. And we're talking about when we're not a major sport, but financially it's a sport that does struggle at times.
But what annoys me is when people don't admit to the struggle. So actually like we is a, it is a middle class sport. There is an inherent issue in the UK with it. And I don't, I don't have the answers. I dunno what the answers are because at the end of the day, people need to work for money and it becomes complicated in terms of, but yeah, there needs to be an effort made if you want to break through that barrier of it being a smaller sport and you wanna make it more of a major sport.
For example, in the UK results, don't seem to be an issue. The women won Comms gold the women football won, uh, euros, uh, the euros the fact that you know about one and you don't know about the other. back to your point about is the money being well utilized in terms of the marketing side of things, like the end of the day marketing should be, should be all over everywhere.
It should be everywhere. But it's not it's. Can we get to a point where access is like the end of the day the euros were on BBC, the Comms on BBC. So people manage to see that world cup, BT sport, right. Okay. So you're already losing half the population already, or probably a lot, a lot more than that in terms of who, who don't have access.
Right. Okay. So what, what's the issue there? Well, can we get to a point where it's, for example, streamed on YouTube, like, can we get to a point where sponsors are happy to, for it to be there because the money's coming in? Like, what is the best way to do again? Like I wish I had the answers. I really do.
But it's like, what is the next point that we can get to a point where there's so much exposure there's sponsors coming in that financially the sport isn't in an issue. And this is, this kind goes back to like. The kind of like world cup stuff is actually like, as much as it was great, having it in Spain and Holland, can we just put it in one place where it doesn't cost teams
Brendan: god knows how much to fly between venues to have four flights booked, because they don't know when they're gonna go to pay for two hotels for God knows how long, like, for me it doesn't make any sense. Because all you're doing is you're wasting money along the way for something that we think would look great, but in practicality really doesn't work.
Because we just don't it just financially it's not an issue. Yeah. So you're asking Chile hockey, or you're asking Spanish hockey to support Chile when they might go to four flights and that it just doesn't make any sense in my head. That kind of Side of things, but that's, I dunno, that's a discussion for another day.
Keely: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and I, I think that kind of gets to my point that, I mean, I agree that video referrals are not as good as they could be. I think that we can solve some of the problems with some, some changes that are actually doable, but at this point I'm not, I don't know. And maybe it's because I'm, I'm not playing at your level.
And I, I, I would never understand that, but I feel like that a lot of that money that would be needed to make the technology better, could be better spent in, you know, just helping athletes, helping the players, you know, be able to do this full time in more countries, helping the umpires get better, helping the technical officials get better.
You know, they, they need training too. They need help as well. And I think that the net result of that would be way bigger, you know, for the entire sport. And so.
Brendan: No, I agree. I agree. I think, I think you touched on it then it's the education. It's the education of, can we, can we utilize what we've got rather than probably evolving it?
Can we utilize it better? Can we utilize what we've got in terms of like, as you say, like, if we can get that third or let's say, for example, you get the third and fourth umpire in actually then there's less pressure on the referrals because there's more eyes that have seen the game. Actually, from that point of view, then suddenly you have, instead of having four nations that are full time internationally, then suddenly we get 6, 8, 10, 12, each team's got a main sponsor.
Each team's got three or four side sponsors. Uh, each team's got their own, uh, airplane sponsor or flight sponsor. For example, like each team's starting to make connections with a hotel chain then suddenly what were previous ridiculous costs are now getting cut quite significantly that actually the money then goes back.
Oh no, we can actually support the umpires. We can actually. This, that and the other we've now got 20 umpires in the UK that are now they've got full-time gym programs because we've got, we've managed to connect them with the governing bodies. That then meant that they've got an actual trainer that can look after them all.
Um, then actually we've got a training base where they've got five cameras, five computers, where they can work with, and they've got a comp like there's, the opportunities are endless, I think. Yeah. But the big thing is at the moment is as you say, like, where is the, where's the right place to invest the money?
And I think you're right in terms of education is probably at the forefront of it. Yeah. And I think we're now in the position where people in the positions that can educate are now able to educate, because they've got the experience, they've done the work, they understand it a lot more themselves. I think that's, that's actually, what's quite cool about where we're at at the moment.
Is the fact that we've now got people with double figure years um, of experience of working with cameras on, in terms of within hockey. Cause as you say, if you get football, if you get football guys in or you get like a different sport that don't necessarily understand the dynamics of it and how it works, I think that does make a massive difference.
Keely: Yeah, absolutely. And, and your point about how we now have a generation of umpires who have a lot of experience that they can then pass on because the umpire managers that they're working with didn't have, you know, Video referral at all. For the most part I'm trying to, you know, I'm, I'm thinking about that, that generation.
And I mean, even somebody like me, I, I had it at one tournament before I retired cuz of the, you know, the generation I was part of. So that, that should actually really make me in a lot of ways, not a very good coach of you umpires because. What do I know I wasn't in that spot. I, I don't have that direct experience.
So yeah. Things, I think things will definitely, you know, get better. And I think you've made some really good suggestions on this. I, I like, um, especially that, that the conversation that needs to happen, I'm a big fan. Um, hopefully this will come up. Um, I'm a big fan of umpires explaining big decisions to particularly the captain of the team that has just lost the decision.
I think that's something that I, I preach to the umpires as a coach all the time is like, just take that second before you make the signal before you, you know, move on with things, just go and talk to them and say, Hey, this is what we've got. And if you're, if you're just over the radio with your colleague, because you're, don't have video referral, take that second to have that conversation, come together, do that thing because that conversation will help.
They can then turn around and explain to their teammates and say, yeah, this person's an asshole. I don't agree with 'em, but this is what they said. So now at least, you know, and those are the kind of proactive steps that we should be taking a lot more often. And I think, I don't know if you've noticed this trend, but definitely the video umpires on at the Commonwealth games and a few of them at the world cup.
And I think you'll see more of it at your tournament as well that you'll hear the video umpires starting to talk more and explain their decisions a little bit more when they can.
For years they had a script and literally they could only say what was on the script. I have A decision for you. No advice possible.
Like it had the options. It was a choose your own adventure with very limited. You're not allowed to talk outside this because some umpires can get into trouble at times if they try to shoot off the cuff. But some of them really can add value and really help everybody understand the decision. And I think things are starting to turn back that way that they're, they're getting, you know, allowed out of the park a little bit and, and able to explain that a lot more thoroughly.
So hopefully that trend will continue as well. Cuz that'll make a massive difference. I think.
Brendan: Yeah. Massively. I think that's the big, as you say is the big thing is not, you don't wanna hamstring people by limiting them. but what you do, what you do want is the simplicity of the answer. You don't necessarily need 15,000 words when 10 works.
But what you do need is people to be able to say that 10, rather than just a no advice possible actually.
Keely: I'm taking notes for my next live stream. What do you mean? I don't need 10,000 words. Tell me more about this. cause I'm the worst. Everybody knows. And here we are. We've been sitting here for, oh, I don't know, an hour and 45 minutes, which is ridiculous.
I'm I'm so happy that you took this time out and I don't know. Do you feel like you understand more? And I mean, I certainly do. Uh, it's really great to hear your perspective as a player, but did, were there some holes that I was able to fill in for you that. you know, now
Keely: Oh, I get it. I get it a little bit more. Okay.
Brendan: A hundred percent. I, I didn't, I didn't realize the, the sheer lack of support that the guys get at the top. Let alone further down. I didn't understand. Yeah. I didn't know about it. Cause I just assumed that there would be Some support, but clearly there is a complete lack of it.
So yeah. In terms of that education bit, like for me, it's quite eyeopening to the fact that like, as you say, when, when I'm there going, oh, the videos useless, like what we even doing, actually, there's a lot more issues that need to be addressed first before worrying about the most high tech bit of kit we've got actually there's stuff that fundamentally needs to be better.
Yeah. First before worrying about that. And I think that's the bit that's the big bit is kind of that's the eye opening bit for me is like, okay. Oh, Christ. I've been, I've been almost going about this completely, the wrong angle when there's actually. There's bigger problems of foot.
Keely: Yeah, no. And, and it's totally fair.
And I, I think that's why it's so important for us to have these conversations. And I, I think for me, it's good to hear just how, just how important those decisions really are, because, you know, I, I do try to stress that holistic view of, of the game that it's, it's 60 minutes of all these things, you know, beautiful and terrible that it all can happen and, and that, but how we present the big ones and how we, how we show.
Where they are in the scope of the game, I think is just really important. So I appreciate that reminder that really helps me out.
So people are starting to understand, I'm trying to wind this down because you, you spent so much time with me, which I really appreciate. And, and I hope everybody in the comments I didn't get to a lot of, I usually bring a lot of the comments on screen and have dialogues with people, which is kind of weird because they can't talk back to me about all the things that they've they've said.
Um, I think that it's important for people to hear that you do again, this amazing podcast Let's Stick Together. You started your next season, cuz you've, you've already sat down, recorded it. When's the, when's the episode coming out. When's your big editing team gonna have it.
Brendan: It should be Friday, but it might be a week later.
Okay. We might backlog and have an extra episode up. So we're just trying, we're working through that right now. Cuz they're designed the design team at the moment. They're currently very busy. Oh, okay. So we've just gotta wait a little bit potentially, but there you go. That'll come out in the next week or two.
And honestly you guys it's, it's fantastic. The link is in the description, you know, go and go and seek that out. Is there any, are there any other projects that you're working on right now where you, are you gonna grow your hair out again and, and do the whole charity thing or, you know, what, what are you doing?
What are you doing with your I, um,
Brendan: I, um, I'm gonna be growing it again, but I'm gonna keep it this time. Um, this is the last haircut I actually had the last haircut today. So that's the last one done? Um, yeah, I get my, my big thing is just trying to make sure I'm back for the world cup. I think that's, I've got a, I've got eight to 12 weeks in rehab where I've gotta try and just attack everything in the hope that I can make that.
Yeah, make that push for that Argentina pro league. That's a big one for me in terms of a date to really try and hit, um.
Keely: How far out in advance is that
from the work cup?
Brendan: Uh, that's early December, so that's, it, it should be doable in terms of fitness wise. It's just a case of whether I'm ready or not. Um, and I'll only know once I'm there in terms of once I'm re arriving at that date, whether I'm ready or not.
And that's, I've kind of, I think because of previous injuries, I'm, I'm okay if I'm not ready for it. I think that's kind of an acceptance that my body's my body and at the end of the day, I've gotta listen to it. Um, I think that's the beauty of, again, having those injuries is kind of, I'm quite methodical with that.
Yeah. I think this one just hit me. I think this injury hit me harder than I realized just because it was mid tournament rather than before or after. Um, so sitting in the stands for four games at a home at a home multi sport event was pretty tough. Um, but yeah, I think, I think the one thing that's quite cool is the fact that I think,
tournament was a complete success, which is a nice feeling coming away from, especially with how well both our men and women did, obviously with the women winning golf the first time. I think that kind of like, you appreciate how good it was that it was on home soil. Yeah. I think that's what was really cool.
Keely: Yeah. What I like is about how, how England hockey, um, picked up the momentum from the CWS and pushed that straight into the world cup bid. And I know you've tweeted about it and, and, and talked about how you're supporting it. What, what is a world cup? Uh, what would a home world cup, I think, you know, bring free the program, you know, you potentially, as a player and all of your friends and things like that, what, what would it mean to you?
Brendan: I mean, I, so the women had it in 2018 and I didn't realize the impact until during, and I realized how many people actually went to the event and kind of, you appreciate how great a show they put on there. Um, the big thing we struggle with is the fact that with a smaller team, I think contrary to like most sports in the UK, um, in terms of when it's a, when it's a dual sport hockey, women's hockey is very much more the prevalent thing and that's, and actually it's great for us, I think, but it also gives us a real opportunity to kind of try and catch them up a bit in terms of that exposure and kind of really, I think really push the sport in general.
Um, cause I don't, I don't think not a men's bid it's a men's and women's bid in the same way that I think the 2018 1 was in, in terms of obviously it's just the men playing, but in terms of the sport in general, I think the more exposure we can get for the sport in the UK, the better. Um, so I'm just hope.
Brendan: I just hope basically if they can. If we can achieve what they've set out to achieve. I think it could be one of the most unbelievable tournaments. Um, the stadiums, I mean, the stadiums they'll be using are vastly different to what we normally have. And I think that's, what's really exciting. And the minute, the minute you go into like a different stadium where you get into a, it doesn't have to be massive, but just a different stadium just gives you that feel of this is, this is something a little bit different, a little bit special.
um, and for us, I think it's where the group is as well in terms of how much more we're improving recently. I think it's a real opportunity to not just win the bid, but also do really well at the tournament and have that. I mean, to win something at your own home world cup would be pretty incredible.
Brendan: Um, so I think from that point of view, it's really exciting period for us in, for hockey in the UK at the moment when, especially in, within England with the women doing so well. And how much of a run they've been on? And the men, although we didn't necessarily do what we set out to do at the coms.
What we have shown is that we're getting better again. And that's the big thing is kind of just keep it improving.
Keely: Yeah. Okay. And just catching my eye here. Very important question, Adam is Brendan gonna reverse invite Keely onto the let's stick together podcast? I don't know if I could handle that level shit talking, but I could probably try.
Brendan: I'd uh, I'd have to speak to the other two chief executives, uh, before putting it out there.
Keely: The dynamic that the three of you have is fantastic.
But if you ever wanted to have somebody on for 10 minutes, that you could pick on, I'm really good at that. You know, Canadians are super earnest and sincere and I'd be like, wait, are you guys kidding or what?
And I'd go. Hmm.
Brendan: It is. It's normally a Wednesday evening record. So it would technically work with your, oh, potentially work with yours.
Keely: There we go. There, we could, we could do a whole thing.
Brendan: In fact's what it might be though. You might have a clash. That's the only thing with your normal posting.
Keely: Oh, well, I, we could probably, we could probably live stream the podcast record recording onto FHumpires.
Oh, we can do this can be so good synergy. We can, we can manage this. That'll be totally dope. And I do wanna talk to you about getting your podcast on YouTube regularly, cuz you guys need to get on that. I'm big in this live streaming thing and YouTube is just pushed out their podcast tab. So you guys gotta get on it.
Cause overnight YouTube turned into one of the biggest podcast indexers out there as soon as they did that, it was, I don't know, like a week ago. Boom overtook apple. Just like that. Cuz they're so big. Oh yeah. We'll talk, we'll talk about this.
Brendan: That you go something to kind of, that's definitely something that we've considered before so.
Keely: Yes, yes.
Brendan: We would potentially. We're facially quite awkward though. So it might be, I'm not sure it'd be that successful, but we can definitely try it.
Keely: Look, if an umpire can come out here you wanna talk awkward? Come on. I've mastered the art. If I can do it, anybody can do it. Okay. So there you go. There you go.
Oh, and yes, you're getting, you're getting officially invited onto the FHU discord for those of you who are watching at home. And you're wondering, what are they talking about? This is the community that we come in and we post a lot of shits Creek gifts. So F umpires.com for slash discord. Uh, there's your official invitation, Brendan.
You can, you can stop in. We have, we have some of the FIH umpires in there and that sort of thing. So. But we can continue discussions and talk about all the things that we learned from, from Brendan in there. But anyway, thanks again for all this time. It was amazing. Uh, I, I hope we can do it again in the future and if it's not on let stick together, you're welcome to come back anytime.
And maybe we can talk about aerials next time. Who knows?
Brendan: You'd need a full two hours for that stint. I think.
Keely: Well, apparently we can manage it, so there we go. All right. Thanks very much everybody for playing at home. Appreciate all of your comments and your conversations. Thanks for thanks for keeping the chat going and we'll see you next Wednesday.
#thirdteam #fieldhockey #hockey #umpire #umpiring #FIH #FIHumpires #umpirelife #hockeyumpiretips #hockeyumpiringvideos #fieldhockeyumpiringvideos #hockeyedumpiring #hockeyumpiringrules