Video Referees: A potential solution

Rugby League may have taken a back seat for a few of us last weekend as two events, in particular, took centre stage.

All the Super League games were done and dusted by the weekend so many of us enjoyed the huge thrills that came with an England World Cup win in the cricket and Novak Djokovic’s record-breaking Wimbledon win.

One thing those two events had in common was the way in which the video aspect of their officiating is implemented.

It’s certainly a big topic currently in Rugby League. Should there be a video referee? Why, when they check a try, is it taking so long? And why aren’t they at every game? These are just a few of the questions that seem to get asked every week.

But those two events at the weekend could well provide a solution that would appease plenty of the parties involved.

One of the key components of the video systems used in both cricket and tennis is the ability for the players themselves to choose what is checked and what isn’t, with the exception of run outs in cricket which, by and large, are all checked.

In cricket, each team is permitted one wrong challenge per innings. If they’re correct in their challenge, they keep it. And the same goes for tennis. Each player gets three challenges per set and they also keep their challenges if correct.

So instead of the referees deciding whether they are sure enough to award the try without reference upstairs, they should either award the try or not, as they see fit, and the captain of either side has 15 seconds to decide whether they want to challenge. Each side could have a challenge per game which they would, of course, keep if they were correct.

This would go some way to halting the recent upsurge of players asking for a try to be checked by the video referee even when the decision is perhaps a clear one. If the players are so sure, they should challenge it. But be aware, if they’re wrong and another decision comes along that they aren’t happy with, they won’t have the chance to challenge as Jason Roy found out in England’s Cricket World Cup semi-final against Australia.

*Photograph by Steve Gaunt