Aviva Premiership
Premiership TMO trials confirmed
ESPN Staff
August 20, 2012
The ESPN cameras take in the action, Gloucester v London Irish, J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby Sevens Series Final, The Rec, Bath, England, August 3, 2012
Television Match Officials will have greater power in this season's Aviva Premiership © Getty Images

The Aviva Premiership has been confirmed as a crucial trial tournament for the revised role of the Television Match Official (TMO).

Beginning at the London Double Header on September 1, and continuing through all televised games on ESPN and Sky Sports, the trial will see the TMO afforded greater powers to rule over foul play and the scoring of tries.

Premiership Rugby volunteered the Premiership for a place in the trial, with the support of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), while a variation of the trial that limits the scope of the TMO will be rolled out in South Africa's Currie Cup competition.

Under the new laws, the TMO will be able to rule on infringements in the build-up to a try from the previous stoppage (penalty, scrum, lineout, free-kick etc), with knock-ons, forward passes, players in touch, offsides, obstructions, early tackles, foul play and double movements all under the spotlight.

The TMO has also been granted further leverage in terms of foul play, and can advise the referee of appropriate sanctions - as an assistant referee would - as well as stop the game in the case of a serious incident.

"The TMO trial in live televised games allows us to maintain the integrity of our competition by ensuring that the match officials are given the utmost support in getting crucial decisions right," Premiership Rugby director Phil Winstanley said.

"We are extremely mindful about ensuring that we achieve a balance between protecting the integrity of the game and impacting on the dynamic nature of our sport by creating too many stoppages in play. This will be closely managed, with a thorough research programme undertaken by Premiership Rugby and the RFU."

Revised TMO powers:

* Referrals can now go back to the previous restart, penalty, free-kick, lineout, scrum, kick-off.
* If it is not clear, the TMO is to advise there is no clear evidence and the referee will need to make a decision.
* TMO to advise on the type of infringement, the recommended sanction and where play is to restart.
* TMOs can be advised on infringements by the team that scored or touched down, as well as if a try has been prevented from being scored.
* If there is doubt as to whether the try would have been scored the TMO must then advise the appropriate sanction.
* If foul play is referred, the TMO is to make recommendations as to the appropriate sanctions, as an assistant referee can currently do.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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