PRO14 are considering broadcasting decision-making conversations between match referees and TMOs live to crowds in stadiums as they happen.
Only fans watching games on TV are currently privy to the dialogue that takes place among the league’s officials when an incident needs to be reviewed.
However, in an effort to boost the Guinness-sponsored tournament’s profile and provide fans with a more inclusive experience at their games, the five-nation competition is hoping that on-field decisions can in future be fully transparent to people in the stadiums.
While stadium-goers currently do get to see on the big screens the same footage that the referee is reviewing, there is often confusion in the ground over why a decision has been reached as fans can’t hear the conversation that is happening.
Greg Garner, the tournament’s elite referees manager, told RugbyPass: “There are lots of little things we can do to increase fan engagement.
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“How do you get people to understand referees are doing a better job? Well, let them hear what the referees are talking about to the TMOs when they are in the stadium. Give them the audio. Put the referee’s voice on the loudspeaker so that people can understand what is going on.
“One of the issues with rugby and refereeing in all sport is when people don’t understand the process they get frustrated whereas if they understand the process, they understand what is going on. If they can hear the dialogue between the referee, the TMO and his assistants, then they can understand the decision.
“PRO14 rugby is much more exciting than Premiership rugby, has been for years."
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 29, 2019
“Charl Crous is our new head of operations and we are constantly looking at it, constantly engaging our stakeholders and fans in a more personal way to get more people to come to watch the PRO14. It’s a big part of what we are doing to try and move things forward.”
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