Referee Resigns From ISU Committee

Ron Pfenning, dropped as the referee of the women's competition at this week's World Figure Skating Championships after he refused to accept new event-review procedures, resigned his membership of the International Skating Union's technical committee effective April 15.

Pfenning, of Hyannis, Mass., said the ISU Council overstepped its authority when it eliminated judges' traditional post-event discussion and analysis. Under the interim system used in international events this season, the marks of nine judges on each 14-member panel are randomly selected to count for the final score. Scores are posted by range rather than by judge, and the referee isn't informed whose marks counted, making it impossible to tell if a judge is out of line. Pfenning's request to restore the review was denied, and he was removed after he told ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta he couldn't abide by the new rule.

Pfenning couldn't be reached for comment Saturday. He said Thursday he knew his stand might cause him problems but he felt strongly enough to take that risk. "Perhaps I was being naive," he said. "I was trying to help them in some respects.... My conscience is very clear. This sport has given me so much and I don't regret a minute of it."

The U.S., Australian, Japanese and British figure skating federations have objected to various provisions of the new system, most notably the anonymity that makes judges less accountable for their actions. The World Championships begin Monday in Washington.

Pfenning refereed the pairs competition at the Salt Lake City Olympics and told the ISU that French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne said she had been pressured to vote for a Russian duo over a Canadian duo. After an investigation, duplicate gold medals were awarded to the runner-up Canadians.

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