Referee Page


Here is a very interesting read on the history of our sport and the rules as they have changed.

The History of The Rules of Water Polo: The finest game under the sun, or, what’s wrong with this Olympic Sport?  click to read.




Congratulation to John Gaw for being select as the Top Referee at Girls ODP National in the Youth Division.













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Humberto Navarro recently attend FINA meetings and brought some helpful information for all stakeholders see  below.


Observations of the FINA-TWPC
1- The difficulty in refereeing is not only in applying the rules; you also have
to understand the spirit of the rules and the purpose behind them.
You have to understand the actions during the game – if you don’t have
a feeling for the game, if you don’t understand what is happening, it’s difficult
to decide the right call for the particular situation you are seeing. It is
important to understand the context of the situation. The fault only makes
sense in relation with the game, with the action.

2-Consistency – this is the key, and the most important, word for the
referees. The players and the coaches should understand which kind of call
you whistle, for that it is very important to be consistent

3-Coordination between the referees:
-The referees must speak with each other before the game and between
the periods: how they divide the control of the field in the different
actions of the game
– Don’t interfere in the main action if the referee on the attacking side is
following the main action – you must always be aware of the area your
colleague is watching. If you call a foul in the area which THE ANOTHER
REFEREE clearly is watching – one of the results of your intervention will
be discrediting your colleague and it will create a tension between the two
referees as well as with the teams.

4-VIOLENCE- BRUTALITY: It is impossible with two referees not to
call situations of violence and brutality, there is no excuse with two
referees for not seeing a situation of violence or brutality. If you
see brutality and violence, you must always intervene!
FINA World League 2017 – 2018

5-APPLY STRICTLY THE RULE W 21.13: We must be completely
consequent with all different situations of this rule, specially

1- If you whistle exclusion, it must be a foul which deserves exclusion
2- When you whistle an exclusion you give an advantage to compensate
the loss of an advantage made by a foul.
3- It is an exclusion when any foul clearly destroys the advantage or the
possibility of the attacking player to shoot OR TO MOVE TO THE GOAL
4-If the foul is against an action of the game without attacking power
you can call an ordinary foul to prevent the loss of the ball for the player
5-Don´t call any ordinary foul, offensive foul and exclusion which has
no any relation with the game and where the ball is
1-If the referee sees an ordinary foul, exclusion foul or a penalty foul
but the player is able to continue the action to move to the goal or to
shoot, the referee must follow the action and whistle only in the case
that the player cannot continue the action.
2- To give the opportunity to finish the action is the objective of the
3-Don´t whistle unnecessary fouls

8-TO APPLY STRICTLY THE RULE 21.8: to impede the free
Movement of the player
1-to protect the movement, the action and the attack of the player must
be a key concept to play water polo
FINA World League 2017 – 2018
2-the referee must be very strict to whistle exclusion in these situations:
a)-any foul to prevent the movement of the player to drive to the
b)-to make a “pressing” that impedes the movement
c)-using two hands to hold
d)-to touch the body continuously or from time to time to refrain
to prevent free movement
e)-To swim on the opponent´s shoulders, back or leg to difficult
impede the movement

a) The referee must give the center an opportunity to shoot. When the
center has the ball, you must delay your whistle a little, it’s better to
have a possibility to shoot than to whistle exclusion.

b) Any movement of the center forward outside the line of shoulder, and
especially out of the water, is a contra foul

c) An ordinary Foul is an option at the center position when there is
no immediate threat to score, or there are 2 or more defenders around;
the referee should not only to whistle exclusion or “no call”.
a) – When the ball is in the perimeter and a situation of exclusion
occurs in the center, the right way for the referee to signal the
exclusion is, as follows:
 to stop the game for a moment
 indicate the excluded player, it is important that the
player know the decision of the referee
 signal the number of excluded player
 signal to restart the game by moving his hand upwards
 this should be done fast without delay
FINA World League 2017 – 2018
a) When whistling for a contra foul, the referee must ensure that the
teams clearly understand the situation to avoid any confusion.
b) Don’t whistle contra fouls without any relation to the action and the
ball –Don´t whistle a contra foul which has no influence on the action
in the game
c) Don´t whistle contra foul when a player from the perimeter tries to
drive inside the area. In the perimeter the defender tries to control the
attacking player, it is impossible to initiate the movement without
contact between the two players. In this situation the referee must
protect always the action, he must give priority the movement of the
a) The referee must recognize the difference between the men’s and
the women’s game. Grabbing the swimsuit is huge factor in the
women’s game because it creates an unfair advantage for the player
holding the suit – therefore, the punishment should be severe.
Grabbing or holding of the swimsuit is a major violation of the rules.
b) Grabbing of the swimsuit should be exclusion in defense and a
contra foul in attack.
-CONTROL OF THE BENCH: Control of coaches and benches and yellow
cards must be applied from the first minute of the game if appropriate
and not only at the end of the game
-DURING A PENALTY SHOT, the “Second Referee” does not have to
go to the goal line to assist the referee who will blow the whistle for the
His first responsibility will be to control the rest of the players.

HANDS has to be judged / applied in the spirit of this rule (where grease
and oil are mentioned).
FINA World League 2017 – 2018
It is a substance to gain advantage during the game and therefor shall
not be permitted.