Hooter system may be waste of time
Deliberate time-wasting may become a feature of Gaelic games with the introduction of the clock-hooter system later this year, GAA director-general Paraic Duffy has warned.
The clock is being introduced on the back of a 2012 Football Review Committee proposal, which enjoyed strong backing from respondents to the online survey and from 69pc of delegates who voted in favour of its introduction at last year's Congress.
Duffy warns of the potential for time-wasting and the propensity of "keep-ball" passages of play in the concluding stages of games and said his concerns are shared by members of his Management Committee, who have discussed the issue at their most recent meetings.
The delaying of taking frees or sideline kicks is already governed by rule with a hop ball and Duffy feels that teams may consider this a small price to pay for trying to kill a game at the opportune moment.
"While I appreciate that there was a high level of public support for the introduction of such a system among respondents to the original FRC online survey, and that 69pc of delegates to Congress voted to pass it into rule, a number of justifiable concerns have been expressed," he notes.
"The rule passed at Congress states that the clock will be stopped for 'injuries and other deliberate or incidental delays on the instruc-tions of the referee'. The only likely incidents that can be considered as 'deliberate or incidental delays' are injuries to players.
"Delays in taking free-kicks or kick/puck-outs are provided for in rule by the penalty of a hop ball, while there is no current provision in rule to consider substitutions a delay. There is a concern that teams may use free-kicks, sideline kicks/pucks and substitutions to run down the clock towards the end of a game and that they will consider the penalty of a hop ball a small price to pay for wasting time.
"The other concern is that teams will resort to keep-ball to run down the clock. I will not be surprised if these emerge as issues of concern during the first year of the use of the clock-hooter system."
Fears have already been expressed about the cost of the clock's introduction.