Have your say: Should we keep or ditch the video referee?

The video referee has taken a lot of stick in recent weeks and we want to know if you would keep it or ditch it.

There has been debate by fans and the media in recent times about whether the video referees should stay or not, and it is safe to say this debate could go on for a good couple of hours.

In BBC Radio Manchester’s ‘Sport at Six’ podcast last week, presenters Jack Dearden and Trevor Hunt discussed the video refereeing system and whether they are a help or hindrance to the sport.

League Express managing editor, Martyn Sadler, was a guest on the show and he said he would get rid of the video referee concept.

He said: “I thought they were great innovation when they first came in, but now don’t think they are and I would get rid of them all together.

“There are several problems with video referees, but I would say the main problem is when we have only got them for two games out of six on a weekend, you will find that games are refereed differently to those that aren’t on television.

“What we really want is games to be refereed the same all across the game. In the NRL, there are eight games every weekend and every single game is televised and every single game has what they call the bunker, determining try decisions over there when it needs to be called into use.

“But here, some tries that are awarded or not awarded in a TV game would be the opposite if it was just a game with a referee and no video referee.

“The most obvious example is when tries are disallowed for obstruction. We have got a situation now were some defending players are masters of pretending to be obstructed, running into a dummy runner and getting a penalty for obstruction when the opposition have the try turned down. That would not happen in majority of cases if there wasn’t a video referee, so its influencing the results of games.”

Leigh Centurions caretaker coach, Kieron Purtill, is a fan of the video refereeing system though.

But he did admit that improvements can be made to it.

He said: “I actually like the video referee.

“I don’t like the way it is used at the moment, but I have been on both sides of it over my career. I think the video referee should just be there to determine the grounding of the ball, instead of the obstructions and escorts and things like that.

“It should be a simple call, if the referee thinks it’s a try then give it or if he isn’t sure then send it up to the video referee and let him make a decision on it.

“Acting and foul play is for the judiciary after the game and that’s where I think things need tweaking a little bit.”

 If it was up to you, would you keep the video referee or scrap it? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Kieron Purtill has it right. If the ref says it’s a try it’s a try! None of this going to the VR for their opinion on it. 9 times out of 10 it isn’t overruled so why waste time going to it?
    The VR is used far too often now, the refs need to take more responsibility for their decisions IMO

  2. Right from outset in 1996 it was blatantly obvious there would be a 2-tier refereeing system, with only certain clubs “benefitting” from the presence of the VR. I agree with Martyn Sadler about abolishing the VR in its present form. Not only are we having rule interpretation problems but we now have “trial by video” for alleged foul play and too much interference by the VR in non-scoring situations.

    • It would be worth seeing a club by club analysis of video rulings, see if there is an actual bias or the perceived bias most of us hold. Certain clubs are on more than others, Wigan, Saints, Leeds, but are they affected for good or ill when the data is analysed?

  3. time to scrap the video ref’s, it is a vastly unfair system, all teams should be treated the same, games that are televised are refereed dfferently and the tevised games have an unfair advantage on games that are not screened. Either all games have the benefit of video ref’s or none at all

  4. Getting rid of the video referee would be the single most stupid decision this sport has ever made. When we brought it in it was pioneering, and has a place in the game. Having it at all games would be preferable but it simply can’t go.
    Scrap it, have one game where a shocking decision is made and everyone will be calling for it to come back.
    This shouldn’t even be up for debate.

  5. Tries only, not penalties, restarts, knock ons, injuries.

    Three replays maximum
    If you don’t know after three, you go back to the refs call

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