The International Rugby Board Executive Committee has approved a modification to the television match official (TMO) protocol, which will see the referee have the power to make his own calls from the in-stadium big screen at the match venues.
Up until now, the referee has been permitted to make only foul play decisions based on his viewing of the big screen whereas from now on the referee will be permitted to make all decisions relating to the current TMO protocol in that way.
The recommendation was made by a meeting of the IRB’s Law Review Group in London last week.
The TMO remains in place but provides the back-up for all decisions as and when the referee is unable to make a relevant decision from the big screen – such as when the screen is obscured, of poor quality or environmental conditions (sunlight, etc.) make it difficult to read.
The process change does not in any way alter what the referee can refer to the TMO and, therefore, there will be no difference to the decisions made via the technology.
The amended protocol has been communicated to Unions and is now effective in all competitions with big screen access, including the Rugby Championship.