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Use of the "advantage" call

Hi all,

I would like some clarification regarding the "advantage" call which appears in the rules as follows:

3.1.6 (viii) [The umpire] Shall refrain from blowing the whistle to penalise an infringement when by doing so the nonoffending team would be placed at a disadvantage. An umpire shall  call  “advantage” to indicate an infringement has been observed and not penalised. Having blown the whistle for an infringement, the Umpire must award a penalty unless a goal is scored which is to the advantage of the non-offending team. 

Recently I asked my netball centre why advantage was being called when the non-offending team had not been successful in passing or shooting the ball. The response was that the advantage call is made when the umpire believes that the player should have been able to get the ball away successfully.

To my reading, the rule is quite clear that advantage is called only when the non-offending team would be disadvantaged by pulling the ball back to the infringement point. Even supposing both interpretations were valid, I am perplexed as to why a decision based on an objective question (has the player gotten the ball away successfully) is not favoured over a subjective question (does the umpire think the player should have gotten the ball away successfully). 

For example, suppose a defending player contacts, obstructs or goes offside, and in doing so prevents the attacking player from making a safe pass, instead forcing an unsafe pass that is intercepted or a held ball. If "advantage" is called at the time of the offence, effectively the offending player's team gets an advantage from breaking the rules. 

I'm sure I've seen the advantage pulled back to a penalty pass or shot at international level, but my YouTube searching has turned up nothing.

I would appreciate any clarification of this rule, especially an explanation of why the subjective interpretation might be more fair, or any precedent for this being the correct interpretation.


Hi, from my perspective the issue with the Advantage call is not so much the subjectivity as many netball rules are decided by what the umpires sees and interprets.  Did a contact cause interference, did a player intimidate another, etc

From a timing perspective the Advantage call is made as you see an offence occur, not on the outcome of the pass/shot.  So you call advantage obstruction believing that the non offending player should still be  able to get the ball away cleanly and to call the obstruction would actually be a disdvantage to the non offending team.  However the outcome may be that the pass does not get away cleanly.  Once advantage is called then there is no option to bring it back and then award a penalty.  So. you can’t wait and see if there really is an advantage (like AFL or Rugby) and if there’s not then bring it back and take the penalty.  You make a call and stick with it sometimes you get it wrong.

If the player continues to offend or reoffend then there’s always an oportunity to penalise them for the 2nd offence.  I’ve seen this called in ANZ where an umpire called advantage contact then a second later called “contact” on the offending players “second action”.  The same would occur if a player continued to be offside after an initial advantage call.

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  • or access our tried and tested plans