Over the last few weeks video referee’s have been under intense scrutiny for some of the unbelievably bad decisions they have made. This has led to calls from some people to have all decisions made at NRL headquarters by a centralized video referee that would hand down decisions during games.
In some ways it sounds like a good idea. It would allow one official to make video referee decisions and therefore, hopefully, bring some sort of consistency to the decisions that are made.
I do see a few problems however…
What happens if there is more than one game on at a time. On Friday night we usually see two games played at the same time, and if you throw on an extra crew at Rugby League Central to cover that second game you basically are undermining the concept of one centralized video referee straight away.
Another issue to consider is that while technology is pretty good these days, it isn’t 100%. I know I have had my Foxtel crash once this year. It was back up a few minutes later but you have to wonder what would happen if for what ever reason the NRL’s centralized video referee was not able to view footage because of a technical fault. What happens then?
Yes that can occur now, but there are some big steps between beaming footage into the video referee’s box at the stadium a game is being played at and beaming it across the country to Rugby League Central.
Then you have to consider what happens if a mistake is made? If one official is making all of these decisions and he stuffs one up, do you fire him?
I tend to think that centralizing video referee decisions is more about cutting costs than anything else. I don’t think it will solve the problem of blokes watching 15 replays of an incident and still coming up with the wrong decision.
I think this all comes down to common sense. The head of NRL referee’s needs to stop treating video referee appointments like they are a right. These people need to be appointed to games based on their ability to get a all right. If someone keeps stuffing up, get rid of them.
That might sound like a really simple approach, but at least its a start!
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