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TMO debate
Video refs 'spoiling the game'
ESPN Staff
May 9, 2014
Tim Wigglesworth goes to the TMO for a decision, Gloucester v Bath, Aviva Premiership,  Kingsholm Stadium, April 12, 2014
Here we go again ... Tim Wigglesworth goes to the TMO for a decision during the recent Premiership match between Gloucester and Bath © Getty Images
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Former England player turned pundit Austin Healey has joined in the debate about the increasing use of the TMO, stating that since the introduction of the TV official the referee's decision-making ability has been diluted.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: "What we have seen recently is that the practice of referees and touch judges working in tandem has actually faltered. And it is beginning to spoil the game.

"My main argument against the TMO is that if we want constantly to improve referees, and we need to, the last thing we want is for them to be questioning themselves. What the TMO gives them is hindsight - a second chance. That is great after a game, but not during."

Echoing Richard Cockerill's comments a day before, he said that matches were now stretching to over 95 minutes because of increasing referrals.

"The overall effect of the TMO is not making the game better, which is what these innovations are meant to achieve. It is not making it a better spectacle and it is certainly not making the referees better. If we are not careful, supporters are going to turn away from the sport."

He said that use of the TMO should be limited to tries."The system is being overused and it is protecting referees and preventing them from taking full responsibility. There is nothing wrong in sport with the referee being wrong. Actually, there is no such thing as the referee being wrong. He is always right.

"Let us allow the referee to make more decisions. That is what he is there for. After all, he is the sole arbiter of what happens on the ball. So, let him take greater responsibility. He might make some wrong decisions, but that is sport."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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