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Top international rugby referee has say on football’s VAR teething problems

Retired international referee Ed Morrison has said football can learn plenty from rugby’s use of video replays in officiating, after its implementation into the round-ball game has wraught with controversy.

The 2018 Six Nations is the 18th tournament to have used a TMO, and the three-time World Cup official says sport has a habit of adapting quickly to new rules.

“All of us are slow to accept change in all walks of life,” said Morrison, who retired in 2001.

“In rugby, some people accepted professionalism and what it meant, whereas I struggled with it.

“I realise now that I was probably quite foolish. Now we have a professional game that everybody buys into and that’s great. And that’s exactly what will happen with the video replay system.”

Trialled in the FA Cup and League Cup, the VAR system drew criticism from Chelsea boss Antonio Conte last month when his side were not given a penalty for a challenge on Willian, deemed a dive by the man in black.

In charge for the 1995 World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand, Morrison came under the scorn of the host nation when he ruled out a try by Ruben Kruger who has dived for the line of the back of the scrum. And on reflection, Northern Hemisphere rugby’s first ever professional referee now feels video assistance would have been a welcome option to turn to at Ellis Park.

“Some people said to me afterwards that was definitely a try,” says Morrison.

“If I was refereeing that game today, would I have referred that upstairs? Yes, I would.

“But I’d rather people criticise me for making a mistake than for doing something dishonestly. Because if I can’t see it, how can I give it? There was too much doubt for me to award that try.”

As VAR causes controversy during its first steps in football, Betway look at six instances of video reviews impacting the Six Nations.

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