INF to probe umpiring after NZ coach slams S'pore ref

Sunday's tie between Australia and New Zealand was the only match umpire Joan Yuliani officiated in for the Constellation Cup series.
Sunday's tie between Australia and New Zealand was the only match umpire Joan Yuliani officiated in for the Constellation Cup series.

The International Netball Federation (INF) is reviewing feedback from athletes, coaches and officials involved in the recent Constellation Cup between Australia and New Zealand to "understand what has happened", following widespread criticism of Singapore umpire Joan Yuliani.

INF chief executive Clare Briegal said in a statement on Monday that the federation is "aware of comments made regarding the standard of officiating at the Constellation Cup held between Australia and New Zealand over the past two weeks". She added: "The INF welcomes feedback on the performance of its officials and will work with the officiating community and our member associations to ensure we address any concerns."

Yuliani, who was awarded the International Umpires' Award (IUA) in 2015 - the highest umpiring qualification in netball - was criticised for her refereeing decisions on Sunday by New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua after the Australian Diamonds beat the Silver Ferns 53-46 in Perth to retain the Constellation Cup with a 2-2 series draw.

With New Zealand called for 66 penalties to Australia's 63, Taurua, who led New Zealand to the World Cup earlier this year, felt the Singaporean made many wrong calls in the final Test match of the series, reported the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

According to the AAP, she believed that it was a mistake to have Yuliani officiating the fourth match when the Singaporean had not handled any of the first three games in the series.

Insisting the Silver Ferns are "not a 60-penalty team", the 51-year-old reportedly vowed to lodge a formal complaint. She was quoted saying: "We have somebody that comes in from Singapore - where are they ranked - and blows it (the rules) out of the window."

New Zealand had averaged 42.3 penalties per game for the first three games of the Constellation Cup, while Australia averaged 57.3 penalties per game.

The officiating led to former Australia and South Africa coach Norma Plummer to lament on Twitter: "What disastrous exhibition of umpiring..."

And in an article headlined "Diamonds put a winning if messy full stop on gruelling netball year", British daily The Guardian noted that "sub-standard umpiring by neutral officials unaccustomed to the speed and skill of top-flight netball... was strongly criticised by Taurua post-game".

Netball Singapore chief executive Cyrus Medora told The Straits Times the association stands behind Yuliani, who has officiated at events including the 2017 World Youth Cup, last year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and the Quad Series tournament between England and Australia in January.

He added: "She was just re-endorsed for her IUA (International Umpires' Award) badge in England at the world championships and was commended for her umpiring."

ST has reached out to Yuliani for comment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2019, with the headline 'INF to probe umpiring after NZ coach slams S'pore ref'. Print Edition | Subscribe