Where's water polo going? Interview with Goran Sablic

From: waterpolopeople.com

Technicians are continuosly making experiments in waterpolo game (recently 7 to 7 players in competition pools of 25mts of length in the preliminary of Men World League) however waterpolo worldwide still not have found a reply to the following questions: - our sport Will continue to be played 7 to 7? - the field Will be reduced to 25 mts also for Men? While waiting for replies, our collaborator Claudia Mastantuono is interviewing people involved in this sport coming from all over the world. Take a look to the following interviews:

1. Did you find any positive aspects in the reduction of the size of competition pool to 25mts length? 2. Did you find any negative aspects? 3. Which kind of game do you prefer: a) 7 to 7 in competition pools of 30mts length b) 7 to 7 in competion pools of 25 mts length c) 6 to 6 in competion pools of 25 mts length

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Goran Sablic:

1. I don 't see any positive aspects from new rules. 2. FINA brought this terrible solution which can make big damage for water polo. At the end , seems by this decision water polo can be transformed to just beach water polo 3 against 3 players, one player can be coach so team can consist of only 5 players.. Maybe FINA wants this to happen. I can compare old and newly proposed water polo rules to football and futsal, these are 2 completely different sports. On 25 m pool we will have 15-20 seconds of wrestling as transition time is shorter, and shotclock time remain the same-30 seconds. at previous rules we had 10-15 seconds of pure wrestling. On long term, reducing number of players in field, and in team will reduce number of water polo players on global level 15-20 % in total. If kid with 13,14 years cannot make team of 11 players (his club, and later even National team) he or she will probably quit water polo. FINA was supposed to try to increase number of players in team on 15 , and for big competitions 15 plus few subs, and they are doing opposite. Sometimes few of 13 players on OLympics and World Championship can be injured.. then deduct 2 goalies out of 13, so sometimes 8 players are used to play all tournament, which brings water polo to border of humanity..playing one of toughest sports in the world with no time to recover. 3. FINA should remain with 7:7 with 30 m pool. I am not against changing rules in order to increase visibility and popularity of our sport globally.(like voleyball did). Change of rules should go in direction of protection of skills and attraction, against body builders and violence, in direction to be clear and understandable at least to players and coaches, not to talk about ordinary spectator which should be the main point of interest of FINA. Rules could be changed in order to be more understandable for ordinary spectators, not just to water polo family, but after careful examination, consultation and trial games, not overnight,consulting wide range of water polo population, I think even rules which was in power last 10-15 years were somehow OK, but problem was interpretation of rules, which was changed almost in each competition. By interpretation, or misinterpretation, water polo transformed to wrestling in water , where smaller and weaker players, no matter how skillfull they are , simply cannot play.(of course, we have very rare exceptions) By this interpretation, water polo of today , hypothetically, could be played in few categories, like boxing (under 60kg, under 90 kg,, plus 110 kg). Do we want sport like that? Rules are (were) clear- grabbing, holding, impeding- should be exclusion foul. Done!Clear! But, genious application of interpretation in last 15-20 years of rules brought us to todays water polo , which is violent, rough, tough, where skills and technique cannot win over size, strenght and power. For change of rules , FINA should consult much more participants in water polo about possible impact of rule changes. From Coaches (almost all of top coaches are against new rules), to players, referees,then spectators as their opinion matters too. Ordinary spectator , ordinary man, citizen of world in any country in the world should know what water polo is,and water polo basic rules. Othewise, we may come to situation to tell our grandsons for 20-30 years a story: "once upon a time there was a sport called water polo...".