Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Joe Kernan: Let’s get our heads together and clarify rules of the game

Nothing occasions a greater sense of frustration within the GAA than the perceived lack of uniformity in the interpretation of the playing rules.

And that’s why I am urging that before the National League starts next month a meeting of representatives of players, referees and county team bosses should take place at Croke Park so that issues in relation to this matter can be thrashed out.

I am not suggesting that such a meeting will provide a panacea for all our ills but I honestly feel it would go some way towards eradicating what many feel are double standards in the application of the rules.

What one referee might choose to ignore, another may decide merits a yellow card.

It’s this type of inconsistency that must be outlawed if the sport itself is to flourish.

I know there is ongoing debate about rule changes but the fact is that we are lumbered with the rules as they are and we must be prepared to make the best of this situation.

If a meeting were to be held prior to the league, then any recommendations could be implemented during the league and the situation reviewed prior to the championship.

There are many areas that need to be addressed — verbal abuse of referees; greater co-ordination between referees, linesmen and umpires; clear signals indicating just why a free-kick has been given; stiffer penalties for time-wasting; and firm action to minimise ‘goading’ behaviour which is a cancer in our great sport.

Players, referees and managers must work together for the good of the game.

A ‘them and us’ stance will get us precisely nowhere.