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Video Rule Change - I've Got a Better Idea
Posted by southstander on May 24 2007 - 08:03:15

Guilty as Charged

News out of Red Hall yesterday that Stuart Cummings and the RFL are considering a rule change in light of 'Millenniumgate' should alarm all rugby league fans.

The mooted change is that officials in televised games will be forced to go to the video referee for all match winning tries scored in the dying moments of a game. Such a change is far from the interests of the game and simply a knee-jerk reaction to try and save Cummings from any future embarrassment, such as the red faces caused by Steve Ganson and Ashley Klein at Cardiff.

But I've got a far fairer alternative.

Read more here...

Ever since the introduction of the video referee I've been unconvinced about the merit of paying the extra official to sit in an expensive video van and rule on the validity of scores. Whilst it undoubtedly adds to the drama, I'm sure that supporters of all Superleague teams can name several incidents where even the video referee, with the technology at their hands, have on reflection got it wrong. The system isn't foolproof.

The current system is also unfair in that it only applies to games shown on TV which means that sides with the greatest exposure (Saints, Leeds, Wigan and Bradford) get the benefit/disbenefit of the system disproportionately to the other Superleague sides. Going to the video referee also delays the game, halts the flow, and to some extent spoils the spectacle. Sides outside the Superleague never get the benefit of it, and to some extent have a lot less controversy in their games.

If we are going to have such a system then there is a very strong argument that it should apply to all Superleague games, not just two each weekend, and this would certainly be a fairer approach. Rather than the latest 'air brained' idea from Cummings to just look at a last try if it determines a result, surely every try should be sent to the video referee. A dubious try scored in the first minute could affect the outcome as easily as one in the last.

If that isn't gping to be disruptive enough, what about a try scored when a knock-on or offside has been missed in the build-up? Wouldn't that affect the result as much as an offside at the play from which the try resulted? The natural progression is then to say that every play in the build-up to a try is scrutinised, or perhaps every single play in the whole game. You can't change the rules to require the video referee only in the last few minutes, that's ridiculous.

I've got a better idea. Drop the video referee all together and put the control of the game back into the hands of the officials. It is a game, for goodness sake, and one where the officials are an integral part. Their errors are as much a part of what we watch as the skills of the players.

The experiment has gone on long enough, the Millennium Stadium fiasco proves that it doesn't work, so lets ditch it.

Over to you Mr Cummings, consider that as an option, and give the game back to the people, players and officials.

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