In the Rio 2016 Olympic volleyball final match's third set, a Brazilian player was spiking very close to the net. After his spike, his arm followed down, contacting the arm of the Italian blocking player, and making their hand touch the tape (the top of the net).

Since the ball was in play, the referee decided that this was a point for Brazil. But this touch of the net happened at about the same time as the ball hit the ground.

According to the rules, whose fault was this? Was it still the Italian player's fault because he touched the net, or was this a bad call by the referee, and should have been a point for Italy?

1 Answer 1


Assuming that the contact between the players occurred on the Brazilan side of the net, my understanding would be that this is a blocking fault by the Italian. Specifically quoting from Rule 14.3, "Blocking within the opponent's space":

In blocking, the player may place his/her hands and arms beyond the net, provided that this action does not interfere with the opponent’s play.

The Italian blocker interfered with the Brazilian attacker's hit via the contact between the players, so this is a fault. It doesn't actually matter whether the net was touched or not, as the fault occurs when contact between the players happens.


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