Nigel Owens wants to see fewer decisions referred to the Television Match Official
The Welshman also wants the final say placed back in the hands of the referee
Owens feels the system’s overuse is eroding public confidence in the authority of the man in the middle
Rugby World Cup final referee Nigel Owens believes too many decisions are being referred to the TV Match Official in the modern-day game.
The Welshman, who refereed the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final, says the TMO is used “too often and for too many things.”
“Personally, I think we should go back to where it was five or six years ago where it was only on the goal line, ’Try: yes or no?’” he told Reuters.
“Then, as a team of officials, we would have to work harder and be better at making the decisions that don’t involve the goal line.
“Things like obstruction, did he come in from the side, forward pass? There are so many things that can go either way and I think you’d probably find that if you make the decision and it’s not replayed then nobody argues with it.
“I also think that would help reduce the issue of players questioning the decision as most of the time they won’t have seen it at all.
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“I can understand that people at games want to see the same thing people do at home, or in the hospitality boxes, but replays can make a huge difference – in players reacting on the field, supporters reacting.”
“I’m not sure if the TMO is eroding the referee’s authority, but it is possibly eroding people’s perception of it.
“Sometimes a decision you make in the flow of the game might look a bit different in a replay, especially in slow motion, and you are forced to make a technical decision that maybe you wouldn’t have made.
“Empathy is essential to good refereeing. You understand why something has happened but you might have decided it didn’t impact on what was happening, but then it’s on the big screen in isolation, the crowd’s seen it, you’ve seen it, you can’t ignore it and your hands are tied somewhat.
“You have to remember that rugby’s rules are complex and there are a lot of grey areas. Two different refs might view the same incident differently but that doesn’t necessarily mean one of them is wrong.”