Sports Letters: Talking referees

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Sir: Now that another international rugby union season is nearly upon us, the clamour over the new rules gets louder, as the players try to guess at the referee's interpretation. Pity then the poor fans.

I have watched international matches with ex-internationals who could not interpret more than half the stoppages. As august a commentator as Bill McLaren is still often heard to interpret penalty calls with 'I think the referee may have spotted something in the line-out'.

We import far too many things of suspect value from America, but their system for communicating decisions to spectators in American football games is admirable.

It is high time paying spectators were allowed to know exactly what they are spectating.

Yours sincerely,


London, W4

30 December