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Aviva Premiership
Referees encouraged to use TMO less
ESPN Staff
September 4, 2014
JP Doyle takes instructions from the man upstairs, Saracens v Northampton Saints, Aviva Premiership final, Twickenham, May 31, 2014
JP Doyle consults the TMO over whether Alex Waller had managed to ground the ball for what proved to be the Premiership-winning score © Getty Images

Referees in the Aviva Premiership have been encouraged to use the Television Match Official less this season and make more on-field decisions.

The majority of supporters argued last season there were too many decisions being referred to the TMO. It seemed fitting the Aviva Premiership final was decided on such a call. But ahead of the new campaign, officials have been advised to make more decisions on the field rather than looking for help from the TMO.

"We need to make more decisions as referees rather than refer upstairs," referee Wayne Barnes said. "If it's clear on the first TV angle, why show it four or five times? We do need to get things right, and it is also right that we should be challenged by the TMO if required, but we need to do better."

Tony Spreadbury, who is head of Professional Game Match Officials, believes touch judges should offer the referees more assistance. "If they see foul play, they should put their flag out, or go with a sanction if they are sure, and take responsibility," Spreadbury said. "We want the on-field officials to make decisions as soon as possible."

Another area that caused controversy last season was the ambiguity over forward passes. This season there will be more focus "on the direction of the ball leaving the hands" rather than where the hands are positioned.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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