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Controversial decision

Reference is made to the report published in Times of Malta on Wednesday on the waterpolo match between Neptunes Grimaldi and Sliema Betsson.

In particular, we feel it is pertinent to clarify circumstances relating to the crucial incident referred to in the report, which occurred with 56 seconds left to play.

A goal scored by Neptunes player Steve Camilleri, giving his team a 9-8 lead, was convalidated by the referee, and even confirmed on the electronic scoreboard, presumably by the same table officials, who then suddenly drew the referees’ attention to the time-out called by our coaches prior to the goal being scored, thus resulting in the effective invalidation of the goal.

Very significantly, as also reported by your correspondent, Sliema were already about to restart play, and we would add, that just as significantly, there were absolutely no protests from the Sliema camp following Camilleri’s goal when the table officials felt they needed to intervene.

It is also relevant that the device functioning via an electronic signal, used by the bench to attract the attention of the table officials requesting a time-out, was not functioning. In fact, a time-out request Neptunes attempted to make in the third session did not reach the officials’ table.

Considering all these factors, but, most importantly, the fact that the referee had already convalidated the goal, Neptunes feel hard done by the decision taken by the table officials, arguably even constituting a technical error.

For the record, though Sliema would have had 56 seconds to save the match, the decision taken by the table officials was crucial in determining the match result, denying Neptunes a good chance of victory and an extra two points which, even at this early stage of the league, would have seen us opening a three-point lead over championship contenders Sliema and San ─áiljan.

Time will tell what bearing this decision will have on the outcome of the championship race.

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