Monday 22 January 2018

Trevor Hogan: Painfully slow TMO decisions sucking life out of matches

Trevor Hogan

The problem of the flat atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium persists.

It's a bad sign when a Mexican wave emerges just half an hour into the game.

While the repeated collapsed scrums are undoubtedly painful viewing, and suck further life from the fans, there is unfortunately no immediate or easy solution.

There is however, one other more controllable area, that could be improved.

The growing tendency to refer decisions, especially regarding foul play, to the Television Match Official (TMO) is not only disrupting the game, but also sapping energy from the crowd.

While it is important to identify when dangerous incidents occur, officials are increasingly taking longer and longer to adjudicate on them.

Four or five precious minutes can pass before decisions are reached, and even then, the outcome is often "inconclusive" or even misjudged.

Last weekend, for example, as half-time approached, referee Steve Walsh and the TMO had an extended conversation and repeated viewings of George Pisi's tackle on Tommy Bowe, eventually deciding on a yellow card.

In the event, a disciplinary panel the following Tuesday stated that the tackle actually warranted a red card and banned Pisi for six weeks.

There were similar long and often unnecessary delays during the games in Paris, Cardiff and Rome.

If this pattern continues, not only is the natural flow of the game constantly interrupted, but the prospect of recreating the old buzz around Lansdowne Road even more difficult.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport