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    16 November 2023

    Wales manager Rob Page praises rugby’s TMO as superior to VAR in Euro 2024 qualifiers

    Wales Boss Criticizes Football’s VAR System and Highlights Rugby Union’s TMO as Superior

    In a surprising turn of events, Wales boss Rob Page has voiced his opinion on the discrepancies between rugby union’s television match officials (TMO) and football’s video assistant referee (VAR) system. According to Page, the TMO is “way ahead” of its football counterpart, prompting him to call for change.

    As Wales gear up for two crucial Euro 2024 qualification games against Armenia and Turkey where VAR will be available to match officials, Page expresses concern over the lack of clarity provided to both players and fans. He emphasizes that supporters are left in the dark due to VAR decisions that often appear shambolic and amateurish.

    The Liverpool versus Tottenham Hotspur match saw forward Luis Diaz fall victim to an incorrect offside ruling by VAR – a decision described by Page as nothing short of shambolic. In another instance during Tottenham Hotspur’s recent clash with Chelsea, there were nine separate reviews conducted by VAR including disallowed goals and red card checks. These interruptions have led Page to question whether referees are now being assisted by technology rather than the other way around.

    “We want more action on the pitch,” says Page passionately. “Supporters deserve an uninterrupted game where they can witness skillful play instead of being subjected to constant stops caused by unclear or prolonged use of VAR.”

    Page believes that while certain decisions may still require VAR’s intervention, referees should be entrusted with the authority to make judgments on matters such as fouls or pushes. He emphasizes the need for definitive answers and urges VAR to focus solely on assisting referees rather than taking over their decision-making power.

    Interestingly, Wales has not been subjected to many controversial VAR decisions during their Euro 2024 qualification campaign. Despite this, Page highlights a particular incident in their match against Latvia where a knee-high tackle went unpunished due to a questionable yellow card issued after a lengthy VAR check. Former Welsh striker Nathan Blake even described it as disgraceful.

    Comparing the two sports, Page points out that World Rugby has privately acknowledged an officiating error in the final of the recent 2023 Rugby World Cup which denied New Zealand a try. This admission sheds light on how rugby’s TMO system is far superior to football’s VAR in terms of clarity and efficiency. The TMO process is completed within seconds compared to football’s nine-minute average delay caused by prolonged reviews.

    “We are dealing with a multi-billion pound industry,” stresses Page when discussing the importance of avoiding controversial incidents like Diaz’s disallowed goal. “The discrepancy between rugby’s TMO and football’s VAR needs urgent attention.”

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