Rugby league to explore option of having video referee deliberation broadcast in stadiums as Phil Bentham rejects notion of ‘hometown’ referees

RUGBY LEAGUE is set to explore the option of having the deliberation of a video referee broadcast in stadiums to improve the clarity behind decisions.

Whilst referees are mic’d up to demonstrate their thoughts and approaches to players, that cannot be heard in a stadium which sometimes leaves fans bewildered at an official’s decision and why they came to that conclusion.

In terms of video refereeing too, the ‘man upstairs’ and is thoughts are broadcast live on TV with viewers able to fully understand where a decision has come from.

But, in stadiums the same cannot be said of supporters. Could they achieve that clarity in the near future? New Head of Match Officials Phil Bentham has his say.

“To get it within the stadium, I think operationally would be and logistics wide would be a big project, but I think that’s a really good point because at the moment you can almost argue at times you’ve got a better experience of the referee’s decision making if you don’t go to the game,” Bentham said.

“So again, it’s something that’s kind of on my ‘to do list’ in terms of something to be looked at and to see whether it’s going to be feasible or not for us to do that. I think it goes down pretty well in Australia, doesn’t it?”

Coming from football, Bentham was asked if the decision to allow officials to referee their hometown clubs would ever be reversed – something which they do not allow in the round ball game.

“I’m 100% happy with the way that it’s run in rugby league. I think they’ve got a large selection pool in football so that they can make those decisions and they can avoid people refereeing their hometowns.

“In rugby league we haven’t got those numbers and the other side of that is that I also think that on a bigger side of it, it questions the integrity of the referee.

“I can tell you from experience of being a referee in England, when you get on that pitch, it’s white against black or it’s white against green and gold.

“That’s how you referee. You’re not even thinking I’m refereeing England against New Zealand. You’re just refereeing the incidents that come up in front of you.

“It’s probably difficult to understand that if you’ve never been in the middle of that and experienced that. But I would never question their integrity and I’ve no intention whatsoever to change that.”

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