International Rugby
Healey: 'The ball should be luminous pink'
ESPN Staff
April 11, 2014
Changing the colour of the ball could help TMO decisions, according to Austin Healey © Getty Images

Former England back Austin Healey has come up with a controversial suggestion to help improve the game by claiming officials should change the colour of the ball.

Citing examples where a TMO is brought in to determine whether a try can be given with the ball normally under a pile of bodies, Healey says that to help officials see where it is grounded, the traditionally white ball should be changed to a more vibrant colour and one that is unlikely to clash with the team's shirts.

"There are many occasions when a driving maul will end up with a collection of bodies over the line and the ball partially hidden," Healey wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph. "The problem we have is that the ball might be the same colour as the shirt or it might be stuck on or near the white lines. It then becomes impossible to judge and, as a result, terribly difficult for the fourth official. That ball should be luminous pink or luminous green!

"So, every time it does go to the fourth official he has a better chance of seeing it and making the right decision. I know players would argue that you can't keep changing the colour of the ball to fit in with shirt colours, but there has to be a better way than the one we have now because how many tries this season have not been given because the fourth official can't quite see whether the ball is up or down.

"Let's also remember that, five years ago, the referee would have thought 'the ball is underneath him and some part of it must have touched the ground so it's a try'."

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