CFL rejects Al's protest

Just as predicted

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once the league posted that "as per its bylaws" only when the incident is intentionally done can any protest be upheld - it was finished. The CFL protest provisions are ONLY usable in cases of Fraud ( where an official pre plans to do something ). I don't think under the current rules we would ever see a successful protest. It's a useless provision that should be thrown out. Fraud and tampering is already covered under the criminal code of Canada - thus making the CFL's bylaw redundant.

Here is the whole judgement

As you may know, the Montreal Alouettes submitted an official game protest to me in relation to the Canadian Football League game held in Vancouver on Friday, September 4, 2009.

The protest relates to a sequence of events surrounding a play late in the game in which Montreal appeared to score a touchdown. This play was subsequently called back by the referee and replayed. On the replay, Montreal failed to obtain a first down and turned the ball over to B.C. on downs. B.C. went on to win the game by a score of 19-12.

An official game protest falls within the scope of Section 2 of the CFL By-Laws. Section 2, Paragraph 1 of the CFL By-Laws provides that:

  1.     If a member Club, knowing a player is ineligible under the Constitution, By-laws or Rules and Regulations of the League, permits said player to participate in a game or if a game official intentionally misinterprets or misapplies a playing rule, which participation or misinterpretation or misapplication could reasonably have affected the result of the game, a protest against the result may be made.

This paragraph directs the standard of my review, which has been extensive. I reviewed the television footage of the play in question, and surrounding events, as provided by the official TSN broadcast, other camera angles provided by TSN but not part of the official TSN broadcast, and the in-stadium game film provided to the league office and all Member Clubs by B.C., according to normal practice.

I also conducted separate interviews with several of the officials involved in the game in question, including the Instant Replay Official, Game Supervisor, Referee, Field Judge, Back Judge and Umpire. I also conducted an interview with representatives from the Montreal Alouettes, to fully understand the nature of their protest.

I have determined that the facts relevant to this matter are as follows:

Play number 145 concluded with 1:05 remaining on the official game clock.
The official game clock commenced prior to play number 146, but was subsequently stopped when B.C. called a time-out. Following the time-out, the stadium game clock showed 0.58 remaining.
The Referee asked that the stadium game clock be reset to 1:00.
The Game Supervisor and Instant Replay Official discussed whether the game clock should have been reset to 1:05, being the time play number 145 concluded, and agreed that there was sufficient uncertainty that it should be reviewed by the referee.
The Game Supervisor sent an electronic page to the four on-field officials equipped with pagers, including the referee, to request that the game be stopped to review the timing issue.
The four on-field officials received the pages contemporaneously with, or immediately prior to, the snap of the ball on play number 146.
No whistles were blown or arm signals made during the course of play number 146.

Following the conclusion of play number 146, several whistles were blown by the on-field officials to indicate an issue and an on-field meeting of the officials was immediately convened.
During the on-field meeting, the four officials equipped with pagers confirmed that they each had received a page contemporaneously with, or immediately prior to, the snap of the ball.
During the on-field meeting, several on-field officials indicated that they had blown their whistles. However, there was a lack of precision as to when such whistles were blown.
The referee concluded that play number 146 had been ruled dead, and ordered it to be replayed.
In order for this protest to be successful, it must be shown that there was an intentional misinterpretation or misapplication of a playing rule. A mistake, notwithstanding the severe effect it may have upon the outcome of a game, does not provide sufficient grounds for the Commissioner to allow the protest and determine a remedy.

In the matter at hand, it is my conclusion that three significant errors occurred. First, the game supervisor sent an electronic page to the on-field officials too late for the matter to be addressed prior to the snap of the ball. Second, the on-field officials failed to blow their whistles and indicate a dead ball immediately upon receiving the electronic page. Third, the referee failed to accurately determine whether the whistles blown by the on-field officials were done so prior to the conclusion of the play. However, it is only the third error which negatively affected Montreal.

It can be concluded that the third error may reasonably have affected the outcome of the game. If it had not occurred, the Montreal touchdown would have stood and the game would most likely have been tied with less than one minute remaining in regulation time. This is unfortunate, and extremely regrettable.

However, despite the significant negative implications resulting from this error, it is my conclusion upon my thorough review that this error was not made by the referee intentionally. The referee believed at the time that a whistle had been blown by an on-field official prior to the conclusion of the play. He communicated this to the game supervisor and the instant replay official following play number 146 and, based on this erroneous belief, made the decision to replay the play in question. This demonstrated a lack of clear communication between the game officials, and a lack of judgment, under pressure, but was not an intentional misinterpretation or misapplication of a playing rule. For this reason, it is my decision that the result of the regular season game between Montreal and B.C. held in Vancouver on Friday, September 4, 2009 stand as a B.C. victory by the score of 19-12.

No discipline is contemplated for the officials involved, but my review will be factored into the assessment of the officials involved, and such assessments are used to determine future assignments. While we can never eliminate human error in the game of football, how it is played or how it is officiated, we are considering measures to ensure this particular set of circumstances is not repeated. Specifically, we will engage the CFL's Competition Committee to consider improved protocols around when a Game Supervisor may contact an on-field official in the course of a game, stricter guidelines for on-field officials when contacted by a Game Supervisor, and formal procedures for Referees to follow before nullifying a play.

The integrity of our game is paramount to our fans. And while they know that perfection is not attainable, they are entitled to know that everyone associated with our game strives to conduct themselves with integrity. I can assure them that my review has concluded that while errors were made, they were not in any way intentional. I can also assure them the Montreal Alouettes' official protest is something we take very seriously, the review that has been conducted has been very thorough, and that our regret at this incident is deep and profound.

Well I am about to say something that I never thought I would say.

The CFL is a bush league!

To have a protest process that requires you to prove that it was intentional decision by the refs s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!

This is now the precedent.
The refs can now screw up anything.....they no longer even need to know the rules because as long as they are ignorant of the rules....They and the league are protected.....You cannot intentionally misinterpret the rules if you don't know them

This "intentional" BS is the leagues way of protecting itself from its own incompetency!

They might as well get rid of the protest because it is nothing but a farce

Absolute bush league

Whether the CFL is bush-league is something for another topic, as for the Al’s protest, the league did absolutely the right thing in not taking any steps other than an apology and assurances that steps would be taken to insure that this would not happen again.

To rule other than to let the result stand would have been bush-league.

Its a semi-pro league but we love our little league. :smiley:

RO. Its just a game :slight_smile: ... So what if 550 000 people we're skrewed out of 3 hours. That's just 1 650 000 hours. :x

Les Oiseaux gonna put on a show this week :twisted:

It is a complete bush-league decision, but I for one am not surprised. It’s not about our Als, it’s about the atrocious officiating and no consequences that have become standard in the CFL. Every frickin team in the league has been flat-out robbed by the zebras at one time or another. It’s embarrassing.

That being said, let’s go Als! Whip B.C. this week and make everyone forget about “the game the refs stole”! :rockin:

Maybe the CFL should follow the NFL's lead and not have a protest system at all.

2 things from the press release really bother me

First was

t can be concluded that the third error may reasonably have affected the outcome of the game. If it had not occurred, the Montreal touchdown would have stood and the game would most likely have been tied with less than one minute remaining in regulation time. This is unfortunate, and extremely regrettable.

Second was

No discipline is contemplated for the officials involved

Wow talk about incompetence. Total lack of integrity on part of the CFL. He admitted they refs blew the game but because it was gross incompetence and not pre planned they are going to stand pat on everything? Gross incompetence in any business costs a person their job. It is disgusting that no one is being held responsible.... no leadership at all.

I agree with your statement but I also agree with RO that the by-law's burden of proof makes it ridiculous and bush...

Makes sense to me. Maybe that's what the Al's brass was trying to show...

at the very lest an official should have been demoted or suspended.

Not really for two reasons

The command center guys were let down by the technology which lagged.

The on field officials claim to have whistled but there is no way to prove they are lying.

It is fair to think that these guys have disqualified themselves from officiating any playoff games and certainly won't be invited to the Grey Cup.

Not that it matters but they confirmed that during the TD run no whistles occurred.

His quote “No whistles were blown or arm signals made during the course of play number 146.” The TD play had been completed prior to any whistle being blown.

By the sounds of it (I didn't see the actual play in question) this has nothing to do with referee incompetence, and everything to do with bad timing.

Why not allow a team to protest a result? What determines if a league is "bush" or not is how they handle it. The CFL handled it well. It's kind of like the concept of criminal negligence, although "criminal" is obviously too harsh a word. The Als were probably protesting just for the sake of protesting, knowing that the only way anything would change would be if there was obvious premeditated intent by the ref to make the Als lose, and knowing that there was a 99.9% chance their protest wouldn't stand. I think it would be worse if you took away a team's right to protest - then the refs would have no accountability to the teams they're reffing.

The refs screwed up - it happens to every team and there's nothing that can be done about it after the fact, other than complain. As long as the game is officiated by humans, there will be mistakes, and sometimes those will come at a really bad time. Hell, if the refs had counted the goal that Martin Gelinas technically scored in Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final, the Flames probably would have won the Cup ...

That is a joke, right?

Well, I'm not at all surprised by the response, and I don't think anyone else should be, either.

Two things I did like: 1) He admitted that the officials screwed up in properly dealing with the situation. 2) He admitted that no whistles were blown until the play ended, so maybe we can finally put that debate to rest (yeah, right...).

The one thing I don't like is how nothing will happen to the officials. At the very least, Murray Clarke should get a stern talking to.

Oh well, on to the rematches.

Quick addition: Jake Ireland and Tom Higgins should also get a stern talking to (at the very least). First, why the hell did they wait so long to check the game clock? Second, Higgins lied about the whistles. There goes his credibility. :roll:

Of course...

Don't like the decision at all, the Als got jobbed.
Ref Murray Clarke must get demoted down to linesman status where he was, no more head officiating for him as I have seen him in other games and he is unsure of himself.

IMHO there's just no way that the outcome of a football game should depend on technology- video, pager, or otherwise. Let the refs make (or blow) calls as they did for many years prior. I've never been a fan of replay, and this whole mess just takes things to a new level.