Senior referee David Coldrick calls on the GAA to give new rules its ‘full backing’
Status of changes crucial to successful introduction according to Pat McEnaney
The intoduction of the black card for cynical fouls is one of the major changes in the rule book.
The GAA must give its “full backing” to the new football rules coming into force in January 2014, according to one of the senior referees involved in the roll-out of the rules and an accompanying education campaign.
All-Ireland referee David Coldrick, who together with National Referees Committee chair Pat McEnaney spoke at yesterday’s launch of the changes in Croke Park, said that pressure may well come on the new rules in the early matches of next season but added that their status as actual - as opposed to experimental - rules would be significant.
“The difficulty with experimental rules is that people don’t really think they’ll end up in the rule book and they’ll have plenty of opportunity to work against them. These are there; they’re in the rule book to stay and that’s why now everybody needs to get on with it and not just referees. It’s players, management, spectators etc
“This came out of the football review and the feedback from right across the organisation. Democratically the change was looked for and that is what the guys have brought in. As in the past even with the experimental rules, whether these are a success or failure will be up to the wider GAA organisation.
“Referees will go out there and they will implement the new rules as they’ve been laid down and whatever happens at the end of that - and obviously, referees are behind these rule changes - once the association gives its full backing to these rules, there’ll be no issue from a refereeing point of view.”
Asked what he meant by the “full backing” of the GAA, he explained:
“As someone said there’s no doubt in that first month or two that maybe - and it’s hard to know until they’re in practice - teams finishing with 13 players a side or whatever, then maybe the pressure will come on - that maybe this isn’t the right way for the organisation to go. There’s a possibility that that will happen in the first month or two, as it did with the old experimental rules.
“Players, teams, management - they will get up to speed with the rules and once we get across that period it will just become part of the game - and I’ve no reason to doubt the GAA’s backing for these rules, once that backing remains steadfast throughout that early period.”
McEnaney said that he would be pushing for the most experienced match officials to be appointed to the January pre-season tournaments in order to give the rules as smooth an introduction as possible,