Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Tyrone Howe: Let officials use technology for all contentious decisions

The role of technology is an almost constant debate within professional sport.

Rugby stole the lead with the introduction of a Television Match Official (TMO), and it is only a matter of time before football goes down the same route.

Invariably, such discussions are sparked by the legitimacy of a goal or try.

However, when Manu Tuilagi punched Chris Ashton another potential area was highlighted — the adjudication of foul play.

The officials got it so very wrong, and it had two main consequences.

Firstly, the offence itself was not punished with a red card as it should have been and, secondly, had the right decision been taken it could have made an enormous difference to the outcome of the game.

Referee, Wayne Barnes, had little option but to consult his touchjudge, as his back was turned to the incident, but his colleague’s narrative was so skewed that it actually sounded as if he made it up, it was so far from the truth of what happened.

The facts — Chris Ashton was short-armed off the ball and he did well to control himself with just a push.

What happened after that was pure thuggery, a vicious and premeditated assault which deserves a serious sanction.

The margins are so tight, and the officials’ jobs so difficult these days, that surely they should be afforded the opportunity to turn to technology in extreme cases, where the potential impact is so great?

We don’t want constant breaks in play, it must be used judiciously, but if the technology is there, we have got to use it.

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