Saturday 19 April 2014

Eugene McGee: Numbers on the sideline need cut

GAA president Liam O'Neill has promised to change behaviour with regard to people being present on sidelines during games.

The problem was highlighted yet again recently when two officials were allegedly knocked to the ground in separate provincial championship games.

The president will have his hands full to change the habits of 128 years of GAA sideline culture, in which anything up to 40 to 50 unattached supporters feel free to stand within touching distance of players, referees and linesmen with the ever present risk of unruly behaviour.

The problem is mainly confined to club games where many fans seem to think they share ownership of the management of the team and therefore are entitled to be along the sideline to impart 'guidance'.

It is a long tradition in club GAA games and will be hard to change. But if the Croke Park playing area on All-Ireland final days can be kept free of supporters, then I suppose change can happen.

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