GAA president Horan criticises recent outbreaks of indiscipline at club games

‘An act of violence is an act of violence regardless of where it takes place.'

GAA president John Horan has warned those guilty of indiscipline on the association's playing fields that their behaviour runs the risk of prosecution.

Writing in the October edition of the GAA Club Newsletter, he was commenting on the rash of controversies that have broken out in club matches in recent weeks.

“We cannot allow people to believe that they can behave differently than they would on the street just because they are wearing a jersey or a team tracksuit top or are attending a game,” says Horan.

“An act of violence is an act of violence regardless of where it takes place. The perpetrators of these incidents are not above the law.

“All of us involved in playing, supporting and administrating our games have a duty of care to protect the reputation of the games that we are involved in. Indiscipline compromises that reputation.”

The most recent episode took place in last Sunday’s Kerry semi-final replay during which a fracas erupted and a Dingle selector was seen on social media to have struck an East Kerry player.

The president also drew attention to one of the issues arising from the scenes in Tralee, the overcrowding of sidelines, especially at club matches.

“The issue of crowded sidelines needs to be taken into account as a contributory factor in some of these incidents. If it is decided that our rules and procedures are not adequate in clamping down on bad behaviour or, if there are obstacles to the pursuit of investigations, then we will address it.”

He also said that although these incidents were local in nature, there was a collective responsibility within the association to address the problem.

“Players need to show restraint. Referees need to be respected and allowed to do their job and officials need to follow the rules that are in place for dealing with issues that arise. Supporters need to also behave responsibly.

“We should be cognisant at all of our games that players, managers and parents are role models for children in the GAA, and we must all live up to the principles of the Give Respect – Get Respect initiative.

“Where action needs to be taken, action should be taken. Punishments and suspensions need to be meaningful and should have an impact.”