GlobalThe unexpected conflict that shakes the Rugby World Cup: why referees do...

The unexpected conflict that shakes the Rugby World Cup: why referees do not use clocks to track playing time

Referee Mathieu Raynal with his left wrist empty during the match between Argentina and England (Photo: Reuters)

He Rugby World Cup France 2023 slowly made up for some of the mistakes they made during the first week of competition. He changed the anthems to their recorded versions after the controversy with the children’s choir, improved the dynamics of admissions to the stadiums that had a chaotic peak in the match between Argentina and England and the amount of beer on sale in the vicinity of the venues even increased since there was a shortage during the opening duel. However, There is an issue that seems to have no solution and that exceeds the organizers of the competition.

When the spectator sits down to watch any competitive match, he or she will surely It will catch your attention that no main referee wears a watch on one of his wrists. It’s that the officials abandoned the traditional method of keeping time of the game to fully trust the TMO (Television Match Official), on the stopwatches on the screens of the different courts or just wait for the sound of the bugle which marks compliance with the regulatory 40 minutes.

But behind this decision there is an internal problem. According to the New Zealand media Stuff, This is a commercial conflict between officials and Tudor, an important watch brand based in Switzerland that is a sponsor of the World Cup. The origin of the fight dates back to the 2019 World Cup in Japan where the manufacturers found out that A currently retired referee who participated in the contest decided to sell his watch, which he had received for free to use throughout the event.

The portal added that the news did not go down well with the business group at all and they determined that when France 2023 arrived, the methodology would be different from the usual one: Every referee who wants a watch from the brand must pay for it out of pocket.. It should be noted that in 2017 Tudor agrees seven-year deal with World Rugby to become the official timekeeper of the 2019 and 2023 men’s World Cups, and the 2021 women’s World Cup (which was played in 2022), the 2018 and 2022 World Sevens Championships and the annual Under-20 World Championship.

The difference in tan on the left wrist, a sign that reveals the absence of the watch (Photo: Reuters)
The difference in tan on the left wrist, a sign that reveals the absence of the watch (Photo: Reuters)

From the side of the referees, they defend themselves with the position that It was never made clear to them that they could not sell the watches received while the brand explains that it is something cataloged as “basic” in any commercial agreement. The media added that there were strong exchanges via email between the manufacturers and the referees’ union days before the kickoff between New Zealand and France in it Stade de Francelocated on the outskirts of Paris.

Furthermore, the agreement between World Rugby and Tudor explains that the judges They can only jump onto the World Cup playing field with a watch from the brand or only Garmin, since the Swiss do not consider it as a competition. Finally the officials decided to boycott the sponsor and not use anything on the wrist, outside of the whistle string. Some referees appeared with watches in different games but to keep the penalty count. Stuff He explained that it was “a strange feeling for the referees during the first round of games” not to carry his faithful companion and added that “even the warm-up routines were a bit stretched by not having quick access to time”.

The portal contacted a source close to Tudor to comment on the issue. “The sponsor is angry and a bit mean… it’s such a poor move. For the first time in a World Cup, for the first time in level one test matches, the official timekeepers of a game do not wear watches. “They are the most important games in the world and the referees don’t keep time.”The representative concluded furiously.

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