ESPN Star Sports introduces third umpire for PHL

MUMBAI: The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) has announced the composition of all the five Tier I teams along with their coaches and managers for the second edition of Premier Hockey League (PHL) next year. ESPN Star Sports (ESS) is IHF's broadcast partner for the initiative.

In order to bolster the coverage ESS has announced that special mikes will be introduced for the on-field umpires for the first time in the history of hockey. There will also be a third umpire - a concept that has helped drastically improve the quality of decisions made in cricket.


ESS MD R C Venkateish said, "We are on verge of taking the Hockey broadcast to the next level. We realise that there is a strong need to make the game of Hockey more and more viewer friendly. "

"Therefore, we decided to give special mobile mikes for the on-field umpires. These mikes will take the hockey viewing experience to a new high as the followers of the game will understand why a particular decision was given by the referee. The introduction of third umpire, mikes will ensure that our broadcast touches a completely different level. Our world class production crew, with some of the finest equipment flown in from our Singapore offices, where we have a state of the art production centre, will ensure that PHL telecast is amongst the best in the world,"adds Venkateish.

Like last year, each game will have four quarters of 17 minutes and 30 seconds each, instead of the two halves. The winner, within the stipulated time, will get three points for each victory, while the team winning in the extra time will share the points 2:1.

Speaking on the role of third umpire, PHL consultant Maurits Hendriks, who is also incumbent coach of the Champions Trophy winning Spanish team said, "It is not a secret that hockey will gain immensely with the introduction of third umpire. It has been debated since a very long time and I am glad to note that PHL has once again come forward to

embrace the challenge. 5 January, 2006 will be a key date in the history of hockey broadcast. We need to introduce the third umpire in a very subtle manner so as to ensure that we do not slow down the game with unnecessary disruptions."

"The third umpire will come into play only if the field umpire wants to take a second opinion. In addition, the facility of the third umpire will be limited to Tier I matches only. We will increase the ambit as we go along" added Hendriks.

11 foreign players have confirmed their participation in the Chandigarh edition of Premier Hockey League (PHL). They include two international captains - Jorge Lombi from Argentina and Mohammad Saqlain from Pakistan. All the 11 foreign players have also been allotted to the five Tier I teams.

Dilip Tirkey will captain the Hyderabad Sultans.

Gagan Ajit Singh will lead the Sher-e-Jallandhar. Viren Rasquinha will helm the Maratha Warriors.

Arjun Hallappa looks to take the Bangalore Hi-Fliers to the victory podium while Rajpal Singh leads the Chandigarh Dynamos.

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