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World Rugby approves plan to change how the TMO is used

World Rugby and its Member Unions have underscored their ongoing commitment to consistent and accurate match officiating by approving a closed trial revising the scope of the Television Match Official (TMO) in the November tests hosted by Tier one unions. 

Confirmation of the trial comes after a full review of the current global trial and the variant used in Super Rugby by a working group of match officials, coaches, players and administrators, reflecting the sport’s commitment to ensuring best-possible match officiating practice.

The key objective of the review was to review current practice with a view to further reduce TMO reliance and time impact, while ensuring clear, consistent and accurate on-field decision-making.

The following principles were agreed following detailed consideration:

  • Try scoring should be an on-field decision with the referee being responsible, but the team of four can all contribute
  • The current list of potential infringements for which a TMO can be referred will be retained, but any referral needs to be prompt, clear and consistent
  • The ‘on the run’ chat between the match officials and TMO for foul play will be removed with the onus on the referee, who should only refer to the TMO issues that are clear and obvious serious acts of foul play, including penalty kick, yellow card or red card as a potential sanction in order to protect player welfare
  • Match officials can review foul play up to when the game restarts, when a penalty is kicked to touch and when foul play footage becomes available
  • Proposal to include live broadcast of the TMO in action.

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