GAA director-general Paraic Duffy has defended the new regulations that stipulate that team doctors are not allowed on the sideline during games and insisted that despite opposition from Kildare, in particular, there would be no change.
The procedures were introduced this year in order to reduce from 12 to five the number of personnel allowed on the sideline for each county.
Now, Kildare are headed for a major conflict with Croke Park after team doctor Danny Mulvihill ignored the new rules by remaining on the sideline during last Saturday night's league clash with Donegal.
Dr Mulvihill said it would be a dereliction of duty for him not to be there. He insisted that the new rule doesn't allow doctors to do their duty.
However, the decision to ignore the ruling will almost certainly lead to a €700 fine, with further punishments likely if he continues to work from the sideline in future.
Duffy said the decision to cut to five (manager, selector, one medic, two water/hurley carriers) had been taken at the December Council meeting and confirmed again in January.
"There's nobody trying to prevent doctors going on the pitch to treat a player. We're insisting that they have quick and easy access to the pitch at all times but there's no reason why they can't be in the stand – as happens in other sports – during the game. They can get on to the pitch in a matter of seconds," Duffy (pictured) said.
Explaining the background to the new regulations, he said it was felt that too many people had access to the sideline during games.
"The decision to reduce it was taken by Central Council at two meetings. Counties voted for change – it's here to stay," Duffy added.
Asked what sanctions Kildare could face if they persisted with having their team doctor on the sideline, he said it was a matter for the Central Competitions Control Committee.
A fine of €700 for a first offence is stipulated in the match regulations but there's a further clause which notes that "the penalty shall be at the discretion of the committee in charge, taking in the frequency of the breaches".
It now remains to be seen if Kildare persist with having Dr Mulvihill on the sideline – thus facing harsh sanctions – and if any other county flouts the new ruling.