Hotline Zing: NBA to allow players critique referees, over the phone

The rule will be enforced from the start of next season

Last Friday, basketball players in the NBA were given an early Christmas present with the news that the league had agreed a seven-year collective bargaining agreement with the Player's Association.

The deal, which comes into force from next summer, sets out the framework for the relationship between players and team owners up to the summer of 2044. It also ensures that there will be no lockout, as there was in 2011, when the season began almost two months later than planned. It was also reduced by 16 regular-season games for each team.

While the agreement will see that wages of player increase massively, one of the more quirkier additions involves players being able to critique the performances of referees, through a special telephone line.

According to Sporting News, players can "call in to critique the work of refs in their games. They’ll be able to report not just on where they think the official botched a call, but also if they found a ref to be out of line, verbally, with how they handled blow-ups. Basically, they can complain like never before."

Under former NBA Commissioner David Stern,players were only allowed to write an individual report once a year to the league, about their opinions on referee performances. In those reports, the referees were never named. That can change now.

The rule will not be enforced until the start of next season. It will be fascinating to see if it changes the dynamic between players and referees. Could it work in other sports?