Referees reviewing match footage

Hello there, you may have seen from a previous thread that during the CREATE US Open, teams 536C, 1814D, and 7133B were disqualified from the US Open round of 16. After reviewing the footage in further detail I wanted show the community our findings and pose an important question.

Disqualification video

As shown at the time stamp linked above team 536C unintentionally rammed the opposing robot doing the match loader, which resulted in the tipping of the stack of 6 cones. Now, this action was definitely illegal by our alliance and deserved a warning, however in no way was it match affecting. What we were disqualified on was the fact that the referees believed that a cone tipped from the stack itself got caught in the drive train, unable to be removed, was match affecting. This may have been valid grounds for the disqualification, however that is not what happened. If you are to watch the video on 1/4 speed with the settings on YouTube you can see that the cone that fell into the opposing robot was one that was caught in the team’s rollers and they made the mistake of releasing it themselves. This was a driver error and the referees themselves did not notice it and all they believed was that we tipped the cone. The referees failed to notice this important detail and prematurely and unnecessarily ended this competition for us. What made this situation nearly impossible to argue against at the event was the fact that the referees are not allowed to review any type of footage that was recorded, which seems unreasonable given that they were unable to notice such a crucial detail. I wanted to ask the community, the GDC, or any other parties what they would think of a rule allowing referees to review recorded footage. There are no rules in place that will prevent this from happening again and referees are capable of making mistakes.

EDIT: I would not like to argue the validity of the disqualification in this thread, rather the question of referees getting the option to review match footage because this was an example of a scenario where the referee simple missed a detail(which may or may not have changed the decision). We have seen many examples at worlds itself where referees may assign the autonomous bonus wrongly and would not review footage to fix a problem such as that.

I agree with this, I think that referees should review match footage. I think most people that competitors are of this opinion. I would like to hear an EP’s perspective on this issue though. The reason is that EP’s always want to make sure the event is run on schedule. Reviewing match footage would delay subsequent matches. I would love to be able to show referees match footage, but I do know that if this was allowed, people would be trying to show referees replays for even the smallest thing that caused them to lose, to be able to justify it as “match affecting”.

I agree that it would definitely cause timing problems, but I do believe it is important to make every match as fair as possible. There definitely should be limits to which a competitor could bring footage to a referee(ex. during very close and contested calls, or when there is not a unanimous decision by the referees).

If VEX is afraid of allowing others to record and show the videos to the referees because they could’ve been edited, I think the VEX World Championship should have the cameras used in the divisions for replays as well, instead of just replays in the Round Robins. Replays NEED to be allowed at the World Championship, especially when there is only Best Of 1 during eliminations.

I think that is a good compromise between doing BO3 and BO1

As an EP I would support something like this if there was a limit. I don’t think it would take that much time and I doubt many of teams would abuse the opportunity. You could limit it by club or team or by allowing it to happen only during elimination rounds.

Also one could make the counterargument for the disqualification specifically cited in this case, that the team did not let go of the cone just because or for some reason, however they were ready to stack the cone just as their entire stack was knocked over and they had no knowledge whatsoever that that would happen so therefore they released the cone with the intentions to stack it on their preexisting stack. In essence it was because of the stack tipping over that that cone fell into their robot.
Just wanted to point that out

On the other hand I agree refs should review match footage but in my opinion it should be provided by Vex and not from the team who wants their match reviewed, in order to stop the potentially “fudging of video evidence”

Video replay system should be used similarly to the tennis “challenge” system. A team is allowed 2 video replays at every tournament. If they question a call with a video replay, and the call is changed in favor of the challenger, then their 2 replays are preserved. If the call remains unchanged, they are down to 1 replay.

I don’t think this has ever been a concern, because if you manage to convincingly edit a video within two matches, that’s impressive.

I would say to @Ashwin Gupta 's suggestion that only one replay should be allowed per team, like baseball. Teams rarely lose their challenge. I was very happy with that change to the MLB rules (I’m a big baseball fan), because clear calls could be overturned. However, I don’t think I’ve ever managed to convince a referee of anything if they were pretty sure of their decision. In my opinion, it’s best to make your case quickly, before the referee has made up their mind. (After that point, they have to play the part of the big, scary authority figure who is never wrong!) Note: I’ve been a referee and a head referee at a number of tournaments, and I definitely have changed my mind on things after hearing out arguments. One time I reviewed the livestream of the tournament not to overturn a result, because that would be illegal, but just to address a team’s concern that they were being pinned for the whole match. Spoiler alert: they were not, just pushed in empty field. However, it changed a discussion of “my referees saw no pinning” to a constructive explanation of what exactly entailed pinning, and I believe that even if they were upset that the rules were how they were, everyone walked out of it respecting each other more for the conversation. I really do not see allowing a single video replay per team (with this not being expended if they get the call right) as being a problem. You will overturn the referee’s call 90% of the time, if they are willing to view it objectively. Or if not, it allows a clear discussion of the rules, without misunderstandings about what actually happened.

For the sake of brevity and I know people that would go full CSI over tiny details in footage, I’d prefer this ruling remain the way it is.

I say this as a EP and a Mentor, who films almost every match our team is in, and often times the whole tournament. I have had footage of multiple matches where bad calls were made on our teams, and I’d still prefer this not change.

Reviewing video even with our full HD cameras, on tripods and ideal shot angles is difficult on small screens and requires no small amount of effort. I would not want my reffs to have to review this sort of footage let alone the typical “blair witch project” quality video captured on some kids potato cam.

edit to add:

@Tanveer | 7133B It has been discussed in multiple forum post over the season with rulings from the GDC that pushing and bumping a robot carrying a stack, while legal, puts you at extreme risk. This is a case of your team/alliance taking that risk and it not working out for you. While I empathize with your situation, because i saw this on the field and didn’t believe your alliance was at fault in this case, you guys knew the risk involved.

As an EP and mentor as well, and a long time head referee and volunteer at events, video review is just way too time consuming and way too large a can of worms to open, and the infrastructure is not in place in VRC to properly do it.

Yep, as an EP, mentor, head referee and volunteer at events; video review is just way too time consuming and way too large a can of worms to open, and the infrastructure is not in place in VRC or VIQ to properly do it. As we say “The referee’s rule is final”.

Especially when you need to slow it down to 1/4 speed to see what’s going on.

Video review would be a bad idea.

We will probably need a new volunteer position during Final’s: Video Review Queue Manager. All to manage the line of students and adults in a line holding their phones wrapped around the competition fields at the end of each finals match.

This. I can see it in a major sport when millions of dollars are on the line. But for this? - no. It’s really not the end of the world if you lose a match. Really.

Mind you professional and even college sports have set up a centralized reviewing committee that has constant communication with the referees. This means you’re expecting multiple paid people by RECF to be ready to review any and all questioned calls and provide a ruling.

I’m sorry, it’s just not feasible, realistic, or worth it. Even in a finals match.

I’ve been on the wrong end of reffing calls multiple times, or at least what I feel to be incorrect decisions. I’m not clamoring to review the evidence.

Unless it’s VEX worlds eliminations, then it would literally be the end of the worlds for you xD


That’s just life. Some days it goes your way. Some days it doesn’t. Move on!

First of all, I would like to say, I love the discussion around this and you all bring up fair points to this argument. I would still like to address some things.

During the US Open, as I watched this match, I saw perfectly fine what happened here live, however the refs did not. In fact, in a later match we could see 2 of the refs on their phones not even paying attention to the match and if a scenario such as ours happened again it would be grossly unfair that a ruling would be against the team considering the refs did not pay attention.

See, this might be the case at many local competitions, however not the case for a competition like the US Open and Worlds. Every single match is being streamed and recorded. The infrastructure is there for competitions like these and it does not seem fair that the referees are not able to utilize it. At worlds itself, there have been examples of referees wrongly assigning the autonomous bonus and not being able to go back and change it because they were not allowed to view the recording that they had access to.

That’s exactly why I believe there should be some restrictions on this. Examples of the cases where it may be appropriate to review footage include: if a call is possibly not unanimous by the referees, or alliances may only get 1 challenge, or the referees would like to clear up a misconception for themselves. Those are examples of just a few of the possibilities for this rule. And in the case of that last example their can be a change where the referees are not exactly bound to have to review every single match’s video, they would simply have the option to. After speaking with other people who have refereed, they also believe that if they had the option to review footage it would have helped them with the clarity of their rulings, and that it may have even sped up the process because then there would be less uncertainty over the events in that match and their would be less arguments with the teams over it.

Not necessarily. If we trust a referee with responsibility of making the correct rulings during a match, then there is no need to have the GDC at the ready to make these rulings for every single time video evidence is brought up. The referees are trusted to make the correct ruling during match time and should be trusted to do the same with video footage.

This implies the video quality standards are the same and consistent for every match at these tournaments, and that you have multiple camera views to get the best possible angle at an action. If you want to review something, a simple panned out view is not going to cut it. That requires a step up in equipment and technical work than is currently present. That infrastructure is not there.