Sars seek answers on Congress motion mess
SARSFIELDS G.A.A. club has expressed its dismay and frustration at the failure of Central Council to submit a motion to Congress 2013 that would make racist and sectarian abuse a sending-off offence.
In a letter to Wexford County Board the club noted: 'Despite our best efforts, and the efforts of this County Board who unanimously passed such a motion at Convention in December, the motion was ruled out of order by the Rules Advisory Committee under Rule 3.42 which only allows for playing rule changes in years divisible by five.
'Having made every effort to engage with the various bodies prior to submitting our motion to ensure that all was in order, this came as a major disappointment but one must accept it given the rules that are in place.'
However, under Rule 3.42, the Central Council is entitled to submit motions outside of these criteria. Amongst these are the right to bring up to three motions on any issue they feel fit as well as for 'emergency matters relating to playing rules'.
The Sarsfields letter added: 'We feel that a motion to make racial and sectarian abuse a sending-off offence should have been submitted under this latter option and we made these feelings known to Croke Park.
However, no such motion has been submitted by Central Council. According to documentation received from the Ard Stiúrthóir, it was the Rules Advisory and Management Committees who decided that they would not recommend to Central Council that it bring an emergency motion based on the playing rules'.
In the letter the Sarsfields club said they would like answers to the following questions:
(1) Rule 3.42 states that 'Central Council' is entitled to submit motions. Why then was it the decision of the Rules Advisory and Management Committees not to recommend such a motion?
(2) Was the option of submitting such a motion even discussed at Central Council. If not, why not?
(3) If it was discussed, on what grounds was the decision not to submit a motion made?
'While we would like to see such a motion submitted at this year's Congress, we accept that at this stage it is highly unlikely. If it cannot be submitted for 2013 we ask the following:
(1) That this County Board mandate our Congress representative to express in the strongest terms, their dissatisfaction at how this process has been handled and with the fact that Central Council have chosen not to legislate for racial and sectarian abuse on the field of play.
(2) That this County Board mandate our Central Council representatives to actively seek to have a motion to make racial and sectarian abuse a sending-off offence, submitted by Central Council for 2014 as one of its three motions permitted each year under Rule 3.42.'
County Chairman, Diarmuid Devereux, said they had been on to Croke Park and it was not a decision to dump the motion, but technically they could not take it as it's not a rule change year until 2015. He would call on the county's representative, Paddy Wickham, to ask Central Council to have it as one of their rule changes for 2014.
Sarsfields delegate Pat Furlong said they would be happy with that as long as it was not just left there.