Black cards proposal set for Congress


Five of the so-called cynical foul plays have been identified by the GAA and will be branded by a new “black card”, resulting in the mandatory substitution of the offending player, provided Congress agrees to the now revised proposal originally submitted by the Football Review Committee (FRC).

This will target players that “deliberately pull down an opponent”, or “use abusive or provocative language or gestures to players”, and also “remonstrate in an aggressive manner with a match official”, with the match referee thus obliged to show that player a black card, resulting in his immediate dismissal, and substitution. For any team shown three black cards, all further black cards will mean the player going off with no substitution.

The revised proposal, hinted at in The Irish Times yesterday by FRC chairman Eugene McGee, follows the initial “yellow card” proposal, as featured in the first half of the FRC report, concerning playing rules, and published last month. However there was an increasing realisation, including within the FRC, that the original proposal would have little chance of getting through Congress in Derry on March 22nd/23rd.

Now, the proposal has been redrafted by the GAA’s Rules Advisory Committee, who help format the relevant motions for Congress in consultation with the FRC, and also considering the views of players, mentors, administrators and the public.

What the FRC submission will now propose is that a “new category of fouling” be added to the rules, aimed at reducing deliberate and cynical fouling, and also to increase respect towards referees and fellow players. The penalty for such behaviour will be mandatory substitution, by showing the offender a black card.

The following five infractions have been identified –

1: To deliberately pull down an opponent ;

2: To deliberately trip an opponent with hand, arm or foot;

3: To deliberately body collide with an opponent after he has played the ball away or for the purpose of taking him out of the movement of play;

4: To use abusive or provocative language or gestures to players;

5: To remonstrate in an aggressive manner with a match official.

The existing yellow card system will remain in place, with players being sent off, without replacement, on receiving a second yellow card, as now pertains. But under the new proposal, after a team has been give three black cards, any further black cards will mean a player going off with no substitution.

It is also being proposed that for intercounty competitions only, a cumulative total of three “black cards” or three “double yellow” cards for an individual in any one grade in the same year will lead to a one-match suspension (except where this would apply to an All-Ireland Final, in which case the one-match suspension is carried forward to the next match).

As a result of all this, the number of substitutions permitted would also be increased from the present five to six, to coincide with the introduction of the proposed change. If agreed by Congress the “black card” will be implemented from January 1st, 2014.

Originally, the FRC proposed that a player receiving a yellow card would have to leave the field for the remainder of the match, with a replacement allowed. Players who accumulated three yellow cards in the same year would also be suspended for two matches, while teams which accumulated three cards in the one match will not be able to replace any further players picking up yellow cards.

But as McGee outlined earlier this week, an amendment was always likely, not least given the widespread misinterpretation of what the FRC was trying to achieve with their proposals in the first place.

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