Arsenal vs Wolves: One Important Thing VAR Must Learn from Rugby’s TMO

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There’s something football must learn from rugby! Something that was witnessed when South Africa was battling it out with England at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

On their way to victory, the SpringBoks battled to get their first try- a try which had to be confirmed by Television Match Official (TMO) – the football’s Video Assistant Referee (VAR) version.

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But something was conspicuous. As the score was being assessed, everyone could loudly listen to what TMO was telling the centre referee.

The process also included a clear-cut slow motion which shows every detail of the incident culminating to the score. And that’s a rule in rugby, unlike football, where fans can only see a glimpse of the process and a magnified decision.

 Ben Skeen will be keeping an eye on any foul play the match referee misses as the TMO
TMO Ben Skeen.

As Gary Lineker puts it, football competitions, for instance those involving Premier League ties like that between Arsenal and Wolves, must learn from rugby’s TMO.  “That’s how to use TMO/VAR: hearing the conversation between officials. Showing what is going on. Learn football, learn,” the BBC Sport pundit tweeted.

He went ahead to explain how listening to every bit of conversation in the game can be beneficial to football as well.

“I doubt footballers swear more in life than rugby players, and suspect that bad language would soon disappear if microphones are introduced, it’s the poor grammar that would be more worrying,” he tweeted.

36-year old Ben Skeen was the TMO for the final between England and South Africa match while Jerome Garces was the referee. Skeen replaced Wayne Barnes, after the Englishman became ineligible.

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