Canoe Polo in Spain


Last weekend I played my first match of polo in Spain.  We won a game, and draw a couple more which got us into the second round where we lost wonderfully.  I really enjoyed it.  It was run a little differently from the matches in Scotland, the obvious difference being it was outside in the sun which I fear would be difficult to recreate in Scotland. Here’s a list of other differences I noticed incase any are useful:

  • They are super strict on the rules.  We missed the first match last month because a player dropped out and we could not add a substitute because she wasn’t on the list.  The addition would need to be approved by the other teams on the day and it was too much hassle to go to with a risk that we wouldn’t be able to play.
  • They have a nice big timer board which lets you see the current score and current time.
  • All the teams need to wear identical coloured uniforms and captains must be clearly identified with an arm band.
  • They play the 60 second possession rule, for which there is another big timer display and person on duty to check.  If your team has possession for 40 seconds a bell sounds (which I found confusing and so did other people occationally), and 20 seconds later the refs sound their whistle to give the other team the ball.
  • The refereeing is done by 1 team and takes 6 people, 2 on the table, two refing on each side and 2 as linesmen sitting at the ends with flags to signal for clean start, goals and off balls.
  • After each match the team captain is given a sheet with goals and penalties and signs off as an accurate record (or puts in a protest).
  • The goals a hung from a line across the pool but with an additional tail from the goal to the end of the pool behind it which stops a lot of the swaying
  • Parking cones on the side mark the half way and 6 metre lines
  • The weekend is done as a weekend tournament rather than a series of league days with 3 rounds including a final winner.  It means 1 poor team goes home after the first day which is pretty unsatisfying (and this is Spain wide which is geographically and politically similar to having UK wide matches which is a heck of a long drive in most cases, this is because the crisis has ment there’s only enough teams for 2 leagues).
  • People like to moan about the SCA being bad at communication but as long as you find the Facebook page the polo stuff is pretty well communicated.  With the Real Federación Española de Piragüismo there’s no information anywhere online and no groups to discuss anything in.
  • Loudspeakers are up so announcements can be made
  • A printer seems to be somewhere around so current scores are printed off a couple times a day
  • There are 4 weekends in the year and they are all at different locations. The organisation is done by a club rather than the federation committee, this is because there are enough clubs with the complete facilities available.  Clubs get a bit grumpy at having to give the proceeds to the federation.

One Reply to “Canoe Polo in Spain”

  1. Hi,

    Alot of the stuff above is stuff I’d like to see in Scottish tournaments. I’d love it if the referees didn’t have responsibility for EVERYTHING in a match besides score-keeping. I’d love it if we had the shot clock (some teams take advantage of our lack of one). I’d love it if the rules were more strictly adhered to.

    As one of the league organisers this year for division 2 in Scotland, we had trouble just finding adequately trained referees. My team will be going up to division 1 this year and only one of us is even qualified to referee those matches. The likelihood is that this requirement will be relaxed, as it was for division 2 this year, however it makes for incredibly frustrating games, where most rules are ignored or the referees are simply ignorant of them. Is there a problem of under-qualified referees in Spain, given how few clubs exist?

    There’s no reason why we couldn’t have the current scores calculated on the day of the tournament however the official scores seem to have to be done by the SCA (or at least someone they trust).

    I’d love to see the organisation of tournaments passed to clubs rather than individuals or the SCA however most of us, as you hinted at, do not have the required facilities. Have there been incidents of clubs not organising events properly? How have they been dealt with?

    As a referee, the 6-metre line markers would be a godsend. If I’ ever involved in organising a league again I’ll be putting this in place!

    The captains’ record of each match would be interesting. At the moment we don’t record what fouls are for, and the teams have little chance to protest any decision once the match is over. Have teams won/lost games as an outcome of these protests?

    Thanks for the insight!

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