The first weekend of the Rugby World Cup was marred by an over reliance of the TMO.
Throughout the opening weekend of the World Cup, rugby fans across the world were frustrated by the length of time it took for referees and television match officials to reach decisions.
While the TMO is necessary in certain instances, it would seem that some referees have developed an over reliance on the video technology at the tournament. Indeed England’s clash with Fiji saw an accumulative total of 10 minutes spent on referring decisions ‘upstairs’.
This has resulted in some commentators accusing referees of being afraid to make decisions. However World Rugby have hit back at such criticism. The Chairman of the World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee John Jeffrey said;
The TMO is a part of the match official team and the fantastic technology available is a tool to be used in the making of key decisions during matches. The TMO process is used to make sure the correct calls are made to protect the integrity of the game.
Jeffrey was also quick to point out that, ‘just 28 per cent of stoppage time in the opening match of this Rugby World Cup was taken up by the TMO process’.
Nevertheless he did stress that World Rugby ‘are committed to reducing that time further while not compromising on accuracy. As such, all involved – referees, TMOs, technicians and television producers – are working together to achieve that’.
Jeffrey also outlined, ‘The objective of the television match official (TMO) system is to ensure accurate and consistent decisions are made on the field in a timely and efficient manner. The TMO is a tool to help referees and assistant referees with their on-field calls and the referee remains the decision-maker who is in charge of the process’.
Fans will hope that the second round of matches at the tournament will not suffer the same level of interruption.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena