Premiership Rugby confirm TMO expansion
August 29, 2013
Television Match Officials will be in place for all Premiership games this season © Getty Images
Premiership Rugby has confirmed that Television Match Officials will be in operation at all games this season - and not just TV games as has previously been the case.
Following a "substantial financial investment" by the Premiership Rugby Board, referees in all 135 league matches this season will now be able to consult the TMO, for the first time in the competition's history.
"This move greatly increases the integrity and consistency in Aviva Premiership Rugby," said Phil Winstanley, Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby. "Aviva Premiership Rugby has more close matches (an average winning margin of 11.1 points) than any other League in the world and we pride ourselves on the competitiveness of our tournament.
"This new TMO policy helps maintain the level playing field for all clubs alongside other measures like our Salary Cap. Last season only the 69 live TV matches were covered by the TMO, and we want to strive for world-class standards. Having a TMO in all 135 matches is an important step forward.
"Our analysis showed that officials could have been helped in many of the non-live matches last season, if the additional cameras had been in place. We don't want the decision of whether a TMO is used to be dependent on whether a match is being covered live."
Last season the powers of the TMO were increased and this led to a drop in citings. In 2011-12 there were 38 citings, a number which dropped to 30 in 2012-13. "Ideally we want every offence to be dealt with during the match in which it takes place, so we want to move to a system where there are no citings," Winstanley added. "In the case of foul play we want it to be dealt with when it occurs and not in a hearing some days later when the penalty will not benefit the opposing team."
This season the TMOs will form part of a worldwide trial which will enable referees to opt to review up to two phases (rucks or mauls) before the ball is grounded in the act of scoring and also to call on the TMO to advise on incidents of possible foul play.
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