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Referees slammed at Tianjin tournament
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10:12, August 17, 2009

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Lebanon's head coach, Dragan Raca, launched a harsh attack on the referees after his team's narrow 72-68 semifinal loss to China at the Asian Championship in Tianjin on Saturday.

His criticism came on the heels of South Korea boycotting the final seconds of their 5-6 place playoff against Chinese Taipei on the same day due to the officiating.

"Everybody saw the referee helped them win," said Raca. "China are such a strong team and they have the ability to win; they do not need a referee to help them. It's an important match for us because making the final means the chance to go to the World Championships," the Cypriot said.

"I'm sorry I am talking about the referee rather than the match. We prepared a lot for the game and we fought hard. But the referee changed the match."

Lebanon's Jackson Vroman, who had a game-high 27 points and 10 rebounds, tied the semi at 68-68 with two free throws with 1:04 minutes remaining on the clock. The most controversial call of the game came when Rony Fahed received his fifth foul when he tried to block Hu Xuefeng's three-point attempt with 42 seconds to go.

Lebanon's coaches and players jumped from the bench and surrounded the referee. Hu made two of the three free throws to give China the win.

It was one of several calls during the match which seemed to favor the hosts, who were given 30 free throw opportunities compared to Lebanon's 21.

Raca said poor refereeing would not help the sport grow in Asia. "It's not good for the sport's development. If every team knows it's impossible to win (against China), they will not play their best. And also some teams will not invest a lot in the sport if that investment will not bring any wins due to such problems."

However, the most drastic response to the officiating came in the 5-6 playoff between South Korea and Chinese Taipei on Saturday.

South Korea's head coach, Hur Jae, cursed and pushed referee Arsen Andryshkin of Kazakhstan after he did not call traveling against a Chinese Taipei player when South Korea were down 67-65 with nine seconds left in the game. Andryshkin gave him a technical foul, virtually ending Korea's slim hopes to tie or win the match.

Hur asked his players to remain seated and not to play the rest of game. Referee Heros Avanesian of Iran gave South Korea one more minute to return to the court after the time-out was over and the players were still on the bench. The Korean players finally returned and Chinese Taipei went on to seal the victory.

Hur and his players chased the referees after the game and the officials were forced to run through another exit with the protection of security guards.

"I thought there was a no-call on a traveling against Chinese Taipei. I tried to get some explanation on that no-call but he (Andryshkin) called a technical on me right away. That's the reason I was angry," Hur said at the post-game press conference.

Source: China Daily/Agency

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