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Guidelines for TMO communication

Mon, 14 Jan 2013 19:37

The guiding principle is that the referee is in charge.

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These guidelines have been produced to assist match officials in the application of the TMO global trials ensuring that they comply with Law and the TMO protocol and that decisions are accurate.

Global Trial Law 6.A.7 – Referee Consulting With Others

(a) The referee may consult with assistant referees about matters relating to their duties, the Law relating to foul play or timekeeping, and may request assistance related to other aspects of the referees duties including the adjudication of offside.
(b) A match organiser may appoint an official known as a Television Match Official (TMO) who uses technological devices to clarify situations relating to:
• When there is doubt as to whether a ball has been grounded in in-goal for a score or a touchdown
• Where there is doubt as to whether a kick-at-goal has been successful
• Where there is doubt as to whether players were in touch or touch in goal before grounding the ball in in-goal or the ball has been made dead
• Where match officials believe an offence or infringement may have occurred leading to a try or in preventing a try
• Reviewing situations where match officials believe foul play may have occurred.
• Clarifying sanctions required for acts of foul play
(c) Any of the match officials including the TMO may recommend a review by the TMO. The reviews will take place in accordance with TMO protocol in place at the time.
(d) A match organiser may appoint a timekeeper who will signify the end of each half.
(e) The referee must not consult with any other persons.

1. Decisions relating to in-goal

1.1 The TMO may be used when the referee requires confirmation with regard to the scoring of a try. The TMO may also be consulted as to the success, or otherwise, of kicks-at-goal.

1.2 The referee will blow the whistle to signal time out and make the “time out” T signal.

1.3 The referee will make a “square box” signal with his hands and at the same time inform the TMO through the two way
communication that he will require his advice.

1.4 The referee will then ask the TMO one of three questions:
• “Is it a try – yes or no?”
• “Can you give me a reason why I cannot award a try?”
• “But for the act of foul play – probable try or no try?”

1.5 The TMO will then liaise with the TV Director and look at all available footage in order to gather enough information and to provide informed advice.

1.6 The broadcaster must provide all the angles requested by the TMO.

1.7 When the TMO has concluded his analysis he will provide the match referee with his advice and recommendations. The referee should repeat the TMO’s recommendation to ensure that he is absolutely satisfied that he has heard what has been recommended.

1.8 The TMO will then advise the referee as to when he may go ahead and signal his decision. (This process is essential in order to allow time for TV to focus their cameras on the referee for his decision).

1.9 The referee will then communicate his decision in the correct manner. Play will then continue and the time clock be restarted.

1.10 Where large on-ground video screens are available the TV Director may also communicate the decision.

1.11 In the absence of a video screen some grounds may use red and green lights to advise the crowd.

1.12 The important and primary method of communication still rests firmly with the referee who will indicate in the normal way after receiving the TMO’s advice.

2. For situations where there is doubt as to actions in the field of play leading to potential score

2.1 The referee may decide that a TMO referral is required or may be advised to do so by the assistant referees or the TMO if there is a potential offence that occurred prior to a player touching the ball down in the oppositions’ in-goal.

2.2 The referee goes through 1.2. and 1.3.

2.3 The referee will indicate that he would like a particular potential offence reviewed which preceded the ball being touched down in-goal.

2.4 The referee should indicate where the potential offence occurred and the nature of the potential offence e.g.
• "Could you please check whether white 14 was or was not in touch on the 22 before touching down"
• "Could please check if the green defender was impeded by a white players ten metres from the goal line"
• "Could you please check if there was a knock on the blind side of that last scrum before green touched down"

2.5 The match officials go through 1.5 to 1.12

3. For doubts relating to a kick at goal

3.1 The referee may decide that a TMO referral is required or may be advised to do so by the assistant referees or the TMO if there is doubt as to whether a kick has been successful or not.

3.2 The referee goes through 1.2 and 1.3.

3.3 The referee will then ask the TMO.
• "Has the kick been successful?"

3.4 The match officials go through 1.5 to 1.12.

4. For acts of foul play that may not be clearly identified

4.1 The referee goes through 1.2 and 1.3.

4.2 The referee will then ask the TMO to review the potential act of foul play indicating the location and circumstances.

4.3 The match officials go through 1.5 to 1.9.

5. For the correct sanction after an act of foul play

5.1 The referee may decide that a TMO referral is required or may be advised to do so by the assistant referees or the TMO if there is doubt as to the correct application of sanction for an act of foul play.

5.2 The referee goes through 1.2 and 1.3 asking advice as to the appropriate sanction.

Pre-match “team of 4” talk must underline the above approach and not include areas of jurisdiction which do not appear in the TMO protocol.

Appendix 1

Captured Learning From RFU Trial

The guiding principle is that the referee is in charge

1. Pre match briefing by referee to assistant referees & television match official

It is important that everything is clear about the TMO's role at the referee’s pre-match briefing, with regard to the protocol and its use. This should include the following: The referee should delay for a second or two before awarding a try. This will ensure that, if any of the other on field match officials have any incident they may wish to be referred, they should say “Check, check” in those seconds. The referee will then stop the clock, identify who has asked for the referral and then refer
if necessary.

2. Sequence of television match official & referee communication

The referee will request what he wishes the TMO to look at using What, Where, Who. The TMO having been asked a question will repeat the question back to the referee before reviewing the event. Having reviewed the event the TMO will report back to the referee a clear and concise description of the event.

The referee may then decide on the course of action taking in to account other information received from on-field screen, assistant referees and their own view. This may also include requesting a recommendation as to sanction from the TMO. TMOs should keep their responses as succinct as possible, especially where there is a “non-sanction”.

3. Reporting to the referees

When an assistant referee reports to a referee an incident he should do so with an open microphone. This allows the broadcaster and the TMO to ‘clearly’ hear the conversation and allows preparations for any subsequent review to be started.

4. Referral of foul play to the referees

Where there is a referral for potential Foul Play, the referee should describe the potential incident with the relevant player number(s) (Who), the approximate location of the incident (Where), the nature of the incident (What) and, if possible, the timing of the incident (When).

The TMO will review the footage and, having established that all possible angles have been reviewed, will inform the referee: "I have a decision." The TMO will then pause. The referee will respond in one of two ways:

(i) "Thank you, but I've seen it" - where the referee has been able to review the incident clearly on the big screen and he will then decide on the decision and sanction;
(ii) "Go ahead" - where the referee has not seen the incident replayed clearly on the screen (or where there isn't a screen!)
In scenario (ii), if there is nothing to report, the TMO will respond, "There was nothing". However, if there is something to report, the TMO should describe the incident in as full a manner as possible. The referee will then decide, from the explanation, what decision and sanction he is going to apply. However, ultimately, the referee may still ask what sanction the TMO would recommend, but this should not be offered unless ask.

5. Referee noting a potential referral

If the referee believes he may be asking for a referral it is helpful if he indicates this to the TMO before the next stoppage so that the TMO knows where and when the potential incident may have occurred and can note that.

6. Forward passes

The TMO protocol is very specific on this matter. For the ball to be judged ‘forward’ the ball must be passed forward from a player’s hands and the flight of the ball should not be taken into consideration. If there is no evidence of a forward pass it is helpful if the TMO indicates that by stating; "There is no evidence of a forward pass".

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