Reducing cynical play key part of football review.
Gaelic games:The GAA Football Review Committee (FRC) have put forward 18 proposals, including a possible 10 rule changes, in the first of its two-part report into the state of the game.
Chaired by former Offaly football boss Eugene McGee, the report is the result of the largest consultation ever undertaken by the GAA, with 4,000 people from 32 counties taking part over an eight month period. Over 75 per cent of those that took part did so through an online survey.
Cynical/tactical fouling and deliberate time-wasting were among the top dislikes among survey respondents. The majority supported some form of sin-bin style discipline to counter deliberate cynical play by a player and team.
Referee inconsistency and also disrespect for referees were among the top five dislikes while the top things people like about the game include high catching, kicking skills and long-range scores.
Speaking at the launch the McGee said: “The overriding conclusion that has emerged from all this research is that Gaelic football is in a fairly healthy state. But while the basic structure of the game is in good shape there are some specific matters that have arisen in recent years which are a source of complaint from many football people and these are what the FRC was requested by GAA president Liam Ó Néill to examine and if necessary propose changes for the better.
The FRC has made a number of proposals specifically to help reduce flashpoints and causes of needless frees in games and is suggesting heavier penalties for deliberate fouling and cynical play.
In the interests of fairness to players, the FRC proposes that a distinction between ‘accidental’ and ‘deliberate’ fouls be written into the rules, with only ‘deliberate’ fouls invoking a card punishment.
Players issued with a yellow card should be subject to mandatory substitution for the remainder of the game. After a team has been given three yellow cards, any further yellow card will mean the player going off with no substitution
The FRC also proposes that all offences currently attracting a 13-metre sanction should attract a 30-metre sanction in order to further reduce the player or team penalised seeking to slow down play for tactical reasons which leads to frustration for the other team and often unsightly bunching, shoving and delaying tactics.
The FRC also proposes that, in addition to the existing rules, if the player who commits a foul has the ball he must place the ball on the ground immediately and retreat the required distance. Failure to do so should attract a 30-metre sanction.
The proposals including an advantage rule, the Mark and the option of the clean pick up. The use of the public clock will be proposed for Croke Park and other major county grounds for inter-county games.
There are also proposals to improve fixture making for club players, to uniformly improve coaching standards and to enhance the status and respect for referees. As the adult club game has an average of just 32 minutes with ball in play and due to the modern fitness levels of club players, there is also a proposal to make the adult club game a 70 minute match.
McGee added: “These are changes which are meant to enhance the quality of Gaelic football and make it more enjoyable for players and spectators. They should also make the game more attractive to young players which is very important for the promotion of the game.
“Practically all those proposals had majority support when we consulted the wider football public and we are confident we will all enjoy a better quality of football as a result.”
The second report, focusing on championship structures and related matters, will be published early next year.
(1)The FRC proposes that with regard to club fixture making, the CCC rather than the County Board shall have ultimate control in each county, thus mirroring the CCCC at national level.
(2) To protect the club and club players, the FRC is proposing that the existing Manager’s Charter become a formal agreement, submitted to Croke Park by 1st week in January each year, with Croke Park reserving the right to audit the agreement to ensure compliance.