Derry's main focus will centre on FRC motions
Motion three proposes making Croke Park available for matches in the 2023 or 2027 Rugby World Cups if either event is staged in Ireland. photograph: cyril byrne
Increased sanctioning for dealing with racial abuse on the field of play, approval to open Croke Park for the potential staging of the Rugby World Cup and additional branding on intercounty jerseys are among the 73 motions to be debated at next month’s GAA Congress in Derry.
Yet the main focus for delegates heading for Derry on March 22nd-23rd will inevitably be the motions concerning the proposals of the Football Review Committee (FRC), most of which have already been well aired. However, delegates now know exactly what they’ll be voting for, so there can’t really be any more claims about confusion.
Although typically wide-ranging, there are few if any radical motions, beyond what the FRC has already outlined. All motions numbered four-25 deal specifically with the FRC proposals, as presented by FRC chairman Eugene McGee back in November, then modified slightly last month in consultation with the GAA’s own Rules Advisory Committee.
All such proposals, if passed, will only come into effect on January 1st, 2014, and because they necessitate rule changes, will require a two-thirds majority. Central to all is five of the so-called cynical foul plays, already identified, will be branded by a new “black card”, resulting in the mandatory substitution of the offending player
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.
Other issues relating to these black-card offences are proposed in motions 10-14, such as an increase in the number of substitutions in football (from five, to six), with the less controversial aspects of the FRC proposals made in motions 16-25, including “the mark”, the “advantage rule”, the “clean pick-up”, and that a public time clock be introduced in Croke Park and in all grounds used for provincial and All-Ireland series senior football championship games.
Motion 25 also proposes that all adult football games, including club games, will last 70 minutes (35 minutes in each half).
First up, before all that, is motion one, which details the proposed changes to the All-Ireland Hurling Championship, reducing the number of teams that will compete for the Liam MacCarthy Cup from 2014 onwards, with further changes to the structure of the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups – again the details of which have already been well aired.