Video referees scaled back in Championship Summer Bash trial

The use of video referees will be scaled back during a trial at this weekend’s Summer Bash in Blackpool, live on Sky Sports.

The Rugby Football League has responded to growing unrest over the system of video refereeing by getting rid of the ‘live’ call by referees and taking obstruction out of the equation.

In the trial to be used at the Summer Bash on Saturday and Sunday, video referees will be restricted to making calls on the grounding and whether the ball is in touch or over the dead-ball line.

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Video referees will also be told to take no more than two looks before coming to their decision.

RFL head of match officials Steve Ganson said: “We are continuously looking at ways in which we can streamline and improve the video referee system.

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“We have worked hard in recent years and have seen the amount of time it takes for a decision [to] come down significantly but we are always willing to discuss new ideas and receive feedback from our partners.

“The Summer Bash offers the perfect opportunity to conduct a trial across six games and we will be interested to receive feedback from fans, players, coaches and the broadcaster following the event.”

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The key changes are:

  • No ‘live’ call from on-field referee.
  • No checks for obstruction.
  • No checks for foul play.
  • No checks for-side or offside from kicks.
  • No checking challenges in the air.
  • No checks for knock-ons in general play.
  • 40/20 kicks can only be checked where ball is kicked from and not where it goes out of play.

Any permanent rule changes will be subject to approval by the RFL’s laws committee.

Source.