What do you make of the new move?
For the first time, rugby fans in-stadium could hear referee decisions played out over the stadium’s PA system, with conversations between match officials broadcast during Gloucester’s 71-10 Premiership Rugby Cup win over Bath.
In Rugby World‘s recent Game Changers edition, in a feature entitled ’20 ways to shake up rugby’, we wrote: “When there is a TMO referral, the conversation between the officials should be played out over the stadium speakers. At present those watching on TV or listening on the radio (or fans in the crowd with access to a ref radio, which aren’t available at all matches) are in a better position to understand what is going on and that shouldn’t be the case.”
It looks like the powers-that-be in the Premiership agree. But what do you make of the move? Let us know via our social media channels or email us a firstname.lastname@example.org.
The trial began at Kingsholm, and a similar system – with key assistants also mic’d up and heard for key conversations – will also be used at London Irish versus Saracens next week. Premiership Rugby have asked fans to provide feedback on the system through social media after the matches.
In an official statement, Tony Spreadbury, RFU Head of Professional Game Match Officials Team, said: “The match officials team is very happy to work with Premiership Rugby and BT Sport to support this trial.
“It’s good to look at innovations that can help improve the fan experience at matches and increase understanding of the work match officials do and how they work as a team to reach certain decisions.”
Phil Winstanley, the Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby also said in the statement: “Currently, the fan watching the game at home can hear the match-official discussions with the TMO but those inside the stadium without one of our Fan Radios cannot. We hope that this will improve the matchday experience in the stadium and allow those at the ground to understand the discussion and rationale for decisions made.”
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.