'Endless TMO delays' annoying rugby supporters
ESPN Staff
January 20, 2014
Tim Wigglesworth goes to the TMO for a decision, Gloucester v Bath, Aviva Premiership,  Kingsholm Stadium, April 12, 2014
And another delay ... © Getty Images
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Former England hooker turned journalist Brian Moore has called for a review of the role of the TMO and said the increasing delays while decisions are referred are "now seriously annoying a majority of rugby supporters".

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Moore said it was important as many decisions as possible were right but that referrals were now impacting on the game and that the situation was getting worse.

"As any watcher will tell you the atmosphere at games is severely diluted when reviews are numerous and lengthy, especially when the reviewed footage is not shown publicly and no explanation is given about what and how a decision is made.

"TMOs are supposed to help officials make correct decisions but it is becoming evident that it encourages them not to make decisions until they have TMO assistance. This does not strengthen the officials' authority; it makes them look indecisive."

IRG protocols state that rulings should be made on "clear and obvious" offences but increasingly minor infractions or incidents are being checked.

Moore is also unhappy that replays on screens inside grounds are being used by referees to make decisions, often without the verdict of the TMO being given. He said that would work if the TMO was binned and on-field officials could decide everything with each team allowed a limited number of challenges, as happens in cricket and tennis. So the referee would make a decision and it would then be down to the captains to refer it. To further speed things up, conversions could be take while the review was ongoing.

"Having seen this situation develop and fearing where it will lead, I am now in favour of binning TMOs and allowing match officials to use technology to back their calls, with citing officers to deal with omissions. This would restore the independent authority of the referee and assistants.

"Technology has improved things but must be used correctly. Ultimately, you must accept that mistakes, even bad ones, will be made, as they are presently with the new protocol. However, that would be better than the incessant TMO bore-fest that is presently ruining games."

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