Liam O’Neill outlines proposals to deal with players who break rules on verbal abuse

Proposal includes conciliation process and mandatory re-education for offenders

GAA president Liam O’Neill: “I’ve always said the fact low-level abuse is tolerated opens up a conduit through which greater stuff can flow. I think if we nip it in the bud, we could do that.” Photograph: Inpho

GAA president Liam O’Neill: “I’ve always said the fact low-level abuse is tolerated opens up a conduit through which greater stuff can flow. I think if we nip it in the bud, we could do that.” Photograph: Inpho

Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 01:00


The GAA are proposing both a conciliation process and mandatory re-education for players breaching stringent new rules on verbal abuse.

Speaking to media in Shanghai yesterday, association president Liam O’Neill said those guilty of breaching the proposed regulations would have to attend a course on personal relations.

“It’s not as simple as giving a red card for a punishment,” he said. “A process needs to be there and there will be an education process if an individual abuses somebody that he will have to go through some form of a personal relations course and how to deal with other people before he would be allowed back to playing the game.

Re-education
“I think we are moving towards that. We are living in a multi-cultural society now; we have to respect that and we have to use that to re-educate ourselves on our behaviour on the field.”

O’Neill outlined the proposals that would go before February’s annual congress. He was speaking about the benefits of the new disciplinary dispensation, which comes into effect next month including the new black card sanction. “Punishing people for bad language, for abusing fellow players or other players or the referee is significant progress too. That’s how we’re going to cut out low-level abuse.

“I’ve always said the fact low-level abuse is tolerated opens up a conduit through which greater stuff can flow. I think if we nip it in the bud, we could do that.

“We will be coming to Congress too with a motion on abusing people because of their race, colour or sexual preference or whatever some people want to use to taunt others. We are bringing a fairly strong motion on that.

“There are technicalities to it and it’s very difficult about how you do it but we are going with the line of when an incident happens that there is a conciliation process first before there is a punishment, that the person who performs the act and the person at whom it is directed need to have a chat about it.”