I sat down to two matches in the past few days, one was Australia v Ireland in a rugby match down under, the other was Iran v Portugal in the soccer world cup. Both games were pretty intense affairs, with some moments of the sublime and some serious off the ball incidents. Both games saw the referees rely on video help, in rugby this is called TMO or Television Match Official rather than the much debated VAR or Video Assistant Referee in soccer. Rugby started introducing TMO in 2001, so although rugby and soccer are very different games - one could assume many of the issues with this form of refereeing help would have been ironed out in rugby.

The first big advantage of TMO over VAR is in rugby the refs are mic'd up. So whilst the official in the Iran Portugal game was consulting the VAR multiple times, no one on the pitch, in the stadium or at home had any idea what was being said to the Ref, or what the Ref was saying to his Video assistants. That is a major failing of VAR - having someone stop, point to their ear and stand motionless detracts from a game. It also encourages players to crowd around the Ref and make sure he knows their opinion of a real or perceived error. So why doesn't soccer mic up its Refs?

The Ref with a mic issue is probably explained with the second big difference between rugby and soccer video assistance, the issue of respect. Let me explain: in a rugby game ONLY the captains can speak to the Ref. That's right, scenes like happened when Buffoon & multiple Juventus players chided Michael Oliver in the Champion's League semi final do not happen in rugby, basically if someone who is not the captain approaches and speaks to the Ref the Ref will ignore, and then punish the offending player. Thus everyone respects the Ref. And thus the Ref can be mic'd up. I am no Portuguese or Iranian speaker, but I can very much guarantee that not only was every player approaching the Ref, but they were swearing and cursing at him constantly. So much so, at least twice an Iranian player got a yellow card for getting in the Ref's face and abusing him because of some decision that had gone against them.

The third reason why TMO is superior to VAR is in a rugby game, the Ref views the replayed action on the stadium's big screen. The whole idea of running over to the half way line and staring at a small TV screen is frankly ridiculous. Put the replayed action on a big screen, so every player and person in the stadium can view the action. Coupled with the Ref being mic'd so the conversation between the Ref and his off site helpers this totally alters the experience for everyone. Now we all partake in the review of the incident, know what is being reviewed and know what the Ref is been shown. Less drama, more clarity.

So that's my three simple observations - 1. Mic up the Refs, 2. Only allow Captains to approach the Ref & 3. Use the big screens in Stadiums to view the replayed action.