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European Champions Cup officials consider using Hawk-Eye

Published 04/11/2015

England's World Cup match against Fiji was held up by TMO referrals
England's World Cup match against Fiji was held up by TMO referrals

European Champions Cup bosses are weighing up whether to adopt Hawk-Eye after the technology's use at the World Cup.

Television Match Official (TMO) referrals received widespread early criticism at the World Cup, with the first-half of England's opening match against Fiji lasting almost an hour.

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) are now in discussions over whether to adopt the Hawk-Eye system, which allows the TMO to pool all available camera angles.

Donal Courtney, head of match officials at EPCR, praised Hawk-Eye's accuracy, but admitted further discussion is required.

"It's important to understand that the Hawk-Eye system that was used was a trial in the World Cup," said Courtney.

"The technology's quite expensive.

"It's something we'll look at on whether we can bring it into European Rugby, but we're not using it as things stand.

"That's something we need to look at, and it is an expensive piece of kit.

"There may also be alternative products, so that's all up for discussion now."

Courtney defended Hawk-Eye's impact on the World Cup, despite supporters and television viewers expressing their displeasure at delays in matches.

"If you look at the World Cup the first couple of matches I think there was a little bit of difficult lining up all the angles," said Courtney.

"So there were some logistical issues there.

"There were a few issues around delays, but the average number of TMO calls in our competition was 1.9 per game last season.

"And at the World Cup it was 2.9, so you got on average an extra call per game as a result of Hawk-Eye.

"Some game you may have none, some you have six or seven.

"But I think it's a very good product and it allows us to get decisions right.

"There will be a review of the whole TMO process coming out of the World Cup, so what happens over the next few months, we don't know."

European bosses confirmed Turkish Airlines as their second major sponsor at Wednesday's tournament launch.

Champions Cup chiefs are still chasing five overall sponsors however, with another partner likely to be confirmed next week.

"There's no need to have an absolute set number," said EPCR director general Vincent Gaillard.

"We started with the aim for five official partners, and we will keep on searching, but it doesn't really matter if it's four or five ultimately.

"It's about the quality of the brands and the overall fit rather than the number.

"So 80 per cent of our commercial revenue is set for the next three years because of the television deals so we don't have to worry imminently about sponsorship."

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