GPA asks GAA to remove cynical fouling motion from Saturday’s Congress

According to a circular issued by Paul Flynn, 70% of intercounty hurlers oppose the idea

GPA chief Paul Flynn. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

GPA chief Paul Flynn. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

The Gaelic Players Association has written to GAA director general Tom Ryan, asking that the motion on cynical fouling be withdrawn from Saturday’s remote congress because it has not been adequately deliberated on and, given its controversial nature, would be better postponed until later in the year.

According to a circular issued to members by chief executive Paul Flynn, 70 per cent of intercounty hurlers oppose the idea, which seeks to introduce a sin-bin into the game and trial it during this year’s championship.

Footballers are less opposed to the motion but 54 per cent are not in favour of the proposal, which includes the award of a penalty for cynical fouls, inside the 20-metre line and its arc, that deprive an opponent of a goal scoring opportunity.

The three specified fouls are: pulling down an opponent, tripping an opponent with the hand, arm, leg, foot or hurley or to use the hurley in a careless manner.

In football the black card already results in a sin-binning but the penalty sanction would be an addition to the game.

“Thanks to all of you who engaged with us in the last week to express your views on the motion,” wrote Flynn. “Inter-county hurlers overwhelmingly rejected the motion (70%) while among those who were in favour of it, multiple questions were raised, clarifications sought and amendments suggested. While the number of footballers who were against the motion was lower (54%) again the majority of those who said yes did so with multiple caveats.

“We would also further question the way in which this motion is being introduced. It would appear to be one of the most contentious motions to be brought before Congress this weekend and we do not believe an online video call will allow opportunity for it to be properly debated.

“Many other less contentious motions were delayed until a Special Congress later in the year and we believe this should also be the case with Motion 20. These concerns from players had been raised by the GPA through our representation on the Standing Committee on Playing Rules.

“We do not feel this motion has been given the requisite time to be properly examined and debated and it is clear from your feedback that clarity is needed around some of the language included and how it will be interpreted by referees.

“You will ultimately have to deal with the consequences of this motion should it be accepted. Therefore following consultation with the Transitional National Executive Committee of the GPA we will be voting against the motion should it remain on the congress clár.”

A year ago, at the 2020 congress, attempts to introduce the black card into hurling were comprehensively defeated by 82 per cent to 18 and the chair of the GPA, Séamus Hickey spoke against the motion.

The tide appeared to have turned significantly in recent weeks with a number of high-profile hurling figures - including Kilkenny’s Ned Quinn, chair of the outgoing CCCC and Clare manager Brian Lohan - coming out publicly in support of the proposal.

This last-minute intervention from the players’ body looks too late to have the desired effect although it is believed that if any motion proves particularly controversial, as referenced by Flynn, it could be deferred until the GAA has the opportunity to hold an in-person congress later in the year.

The letter also supports motions 10 on anti-doping training and 27, the temporary replacement of players with head injuries.

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