GAA order refs to call time on stoppages
GAA matches could technically last up to five minutes longer as the GAA prepares to bring in new guidelines for timekeeping.
Counties have been informed that from this weekend referees will take account of substitutes, relevant delays caused by travelling distances to take frees and stoppages that require the intervention of Hawk-Eye in Croke Park and eventually Thurles.
The new guidelines cover incidental and deliberate delays that have been steadily creeping into the game in recent times. With the proliferation in goalkeepers taking frees within scoring range and the number of permitted substitutions in football rising to six to accommodate the introduction of the black card, allied to Hawk-Eye referrals, the capacity for additional stoppages has soared.
The GAA's national match officials manager Pat Doherty has confirmed that the stoppages will range from 20 seconds for substitutes and players travelling distances for frees to 30 seconds for Hawk-Eye.
"We'll be instructing the referees that they must stop their watches for those things to happen from now on," said Doherty, who added that referees have already been taking account of the time lost in making substitutions and the time increases on foot of these guidelines may not be that significant. "Even in games where there are no stoppages, there's been two minutes at the end of a half."
Goalkeepers coming forward has eaten into time however. For the 2013 Leinster final against Meath, Dublin's Stephen Cluxton took seven frees or '45s which took a total of seven minutes and 54 seconds to take from the moment they were awarded.
Theoretically, if teams used six subs (12 x 20 seconds), sent keepers up for an average of three frees each (6 x 20 seconds) and reverted to Hawk-Eye just once in a Croke Park match, a referee would be obliged to extend a game by six-and-a-half minutes before injuries are considered.