SANZAAR has found the implementation of the Television Match Official (TMO) to be a “major concern” in recent weeks with the body announcing its intentions to review the system.
A series of controversial Super Rugby incidents have seen the officiating questioned, with the Sunwolves’ Ed Quirk the latest player to be handed a contentious red card after a review.
Quirk was adjudged to have punched the Reds’ Hamish Stewart, but both coaches protested that the contact – picked up by the TMO – was minimal.
There have been issues in the international game, too, with New Zealand’s home series sweep of France including a number of incidents that left the visitors enraged.
And SANZAAR, while unable to change the laws of the game, has announced its concern at the TMO protocols which are “clearly not working”.
“The past four weeks of international and domestic rugby have highlighted some challenges within the match officiating processes in the game of rugby, in particular the events over the past two weeks of Super Rugby,” a statement read.
SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos added: “Match officiating is a very important component of our game that undergoes continuous review to keep abreast of law changes and specific directives passed down from World Rugby.
“The performances of the guys in the middle and those on the sidelines, and behind the TV monitor, are regularly reviewed and appraised to ensure the best referees and officials are officiating in Super Rugby matches.
“Like a player, match officials who consistently do not perform to the level required are stood down from time to time, with specific game-related work then done to get them back to performing consistently.
“A major concern for us at present is the practical implementation of the Television Match Official protocols. The protocols are clearly not working and a specific review is required in this area.
“SANZAAR believes the appointed referee needs to remain the key decision maker on the field and that TMO interventions only provide context to the match officials’ decision making.
“We need better consistency in the application of the protocols and most would agree that perhaps this is not the case. The aim of the review will be to drive some operational changes to the protocols to ensure this consistency so that better outcomes are delivered.
“SANZAAR is not empowered to adjust any protocols that have a direct effect on the laws of the game.
“However, we are keen to lead the discussion in this important area and following our review we will take our recommendations to World Rugby, the guardians of the laws of rugby, to ensure beneficial outcomes are achieved for the game.”
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