Tuesday, 21 August 2012

TMO....Close but no cigar?

Due to all of the television coverage and camera accessibility to so many games, we are now at one with the TMO- television match official. This technology is a huge advantage for referees and teams to decipher whether a try can be awarded or disallowed cutting down on chances of a controversial and pivotal moments in the game
This is one big advantage rugby officials have over football referees. The reasoning behind the delay in football is they say it should cross all levels of football. If it's to be used in the premiership then it should be in the 'half cocked egg and spoon league'. Playing equality though all levels but also costing a bucket load of cash. It's a fair point that nobody should be treated differently, but with all the cameras at premiership games why not at least start there. The decision is now in heavy discussion within FIFA and potentially in 2013 goal line technology could well be introduced.

With rugby it still seems to be almost but not quite. I feel if you are going to use the TMO in premiership matches then it should be ALL premiership matches. Within this day and age continuity is crucial in the aim of fair play.
A prime example in which the old rules and lack of camera's were called into question on one weekend in the Aviva Premiership last season. Bath had a game against Sale Sharks at the rec (No TMO available). It appeared that Matt Banahan had crossed the line, but the official was not in a good enough position to see if it was grounded. So on the evidence he had the try was not awarded and a scrum 5m out was awarded. If the try had been given Bath would of had their blushes saved after being 10-0 up at half time, and potentially winning the game. The game eventually ended 13-16 to Sale Sharks. Obviously Bath lost the fixture due to letting Sale back into the game not because of the lacking in TMO but highlights the importance that in a televised fixture the try would of been awarded.
On the same weekend a controversial moment occurred but the new TMO rules would eradicate such issues. During the Tigers v Saints match in which  Tigers won 30-25. Agulla ran in a 50m try to score the winning points. The score at the time was 23-25 in Saints favour. As the move began Geordan Murphy was down receiving treatment. As the moved progressed Murphy sprang to life, sprinted across the pitch into Ben Foden taking him clean out! Allowing the try to be ran in and the game to be won. As it was one phase of play it was part of the try scoring move now the TMO could be called into action and deem Murphy's action illegal.

The TMO is a brilliant advance on the game and with the new rules added to the system will aid the fairness and cut back on infringements but equality of use and a review of its uses surely in need to be looked at.

Yes now the track back on the last phase is potentially a step un the right direction but I feel not quite complete. For a few the track back will lead to more stop-start happening although I can only see it adding a possibility of a few seconds to the already time delay.

While enquiring with the premiership over full TMO in all fixtures theese are the responses I received.

BB '@premrugby will the TMO be standard at all prem fixtures or just televised matches??? Surely even across the board for a true representation'

AV '@BathBytes There is only a TMO in place at live matches'

BB '@premrugby does that really show equality in fixtures? Surely should be one rule for all?'

AV ' @BathBytes Well, there has never been a TMO at non-live matches in any League in the world'

Another Twitter user also posed a question.

ST ' @BathBytes @premrugby Cameras are at all grounds for highlights so why can't TMO be employed? Surely it's a help for ref/fans not viewers?'  Simon Trenchard (@simontrenchard)

AV '@simontrenchard @BathBytes Four cameras are sent to every game for highlights/analysts which are not enough for TMO'

BB' @premrugby @simontrenchard how many cameras are needed to secure TMO?'

From this no response was given. I am of the understanding more camera's would be required for more angles, but when clubs such as Bath have a large screen and the crowd are able to see if it's or try or not then surely the officials can aswell.

A statement I was sent seems to sum the TMO system up perfectly.
'Makes the TMO a by product of TV coverage, rather than a requirement to give correct decisions at all fixtures.' (@simontrenchard)
This seems just to highlight unless there is money being earned in a match then the full treatment of premiership standards are denied. Leaning towards the question is money completely engulfing rugby? Perhaps I'll leave that debate for another day!!


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