Tug of War Intl. Federation admits ref's mistake, declares Taiwan co-champion of 2018 tournament

After officials were criticized for unfairly giving Ireland gold, the TWIF has amended the match's result

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Taiwanese Nat. Tug of War Team (Image from Da Bennniu's Facebook Page)

Taiwanese Nat. Tug of War Team (Image from Da Bennniu's Facebook Page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A controversy erupted in March shortly after the final showdown of the 2018 Tug of War World Championship, when referees declared Ireland the victor of the tournament, despite some very clear footage proving that the Taiwanese national team should have taken the gold.

After supporters of the Taiwanese national team rallied tens of thousands of netizens with a petition protesting the decision of the Tug of War International Federation (TWIF) judges, there has been a new development in the story.

On April 7, the Taiwanese national association of Tug of War received a letter from the TWIF explaining that after reviewing the available evidence, that an instance of human error by the head referee in the final match resulted in a faulty ruling for the final result.

In the “best two out of three” match system, Ireland had already won the first match, and at the end of the second match, Ireland should have been disqualified for collecting three penalty calls, however when the lead Irish athlete crossed the line the third time, the referee ignored it and gave the round to Ireland.

Now the TWIF has recognized that the second match should have gone to Taiwan.

After recognizing the mistake, the TWIF has decided to amend the match’s result. The TWIF has declared that the record will be changed to show that Ireland and Taiwan tied for first place in the 2018 World Championship.

The final match in the 560kg division of the World Championship took place in Xuzhou, China on March 10. When the referee failed to recognize the leg of the first Irish athlete in the lineup had crossed the line, yet still awarded Ireland the point, the crowd erupted into cries of anger and disbelief.

Despite the head coach and team members pleading their case, and asking officials to review the footage, they were continually rebuffed. The following day on March 11, the Taiwanese Tug of War Association filed an official complaint with TWIF.

In the days following a huge public outcry occurred online, with many angry netizens contacting the TWIF and asking them to recognize what was clearly a poor call by the referee, and a poorly handled response from the officiating judges.

After almost a month of waiting for a response, it appears that the petition and consistent pressure from fans and Taiwan’s Tug of War association has paid off. An image of the official letter from the TWIF can be found and read here.

Congratulations to the Taiwanese team for their hard work, good sportsmanship, and perseverance despite the mistakes of the TWIF officials.

A video created for the campaign to raise awareness of the unfair ruling can be seen below. To see the specific call that sparked the controversy, watch the video from the 2:25 mark.