Ref Fox in line to make return
Published 01/04/2011 | 05:00
Westmeath referee Pat Fox will return to duty for the final round of league matches next week after a seven-week absence from front-line inter-county duty.
Fox is down to referee the Galway/Dublin Allianz Football League Division 1 match, his first appointment since taking charge of the Tyrone/Donegal game in Omagh on February 19.
The Central Referees Appointments Committee (CRAC) have taken issue with speculation that Fox had been sidelined for the last four league matches because of an apparent refusal to upgrade the yellow card shown to Tyrone's Ryan McMenamin for a challenge on Paddy McGrath.
The absence of Fox from the refereeing roster since February gave root to those suggestions that his satisfaction with the original sanction had cost him subsequent game time.
Four years ago, Cavan referee Brian Crowe did not upgrade a yellow card given to Cork's Noel O'Leary in the 2007 All-Ireland semi-final when requested to review the offence and subsequently refereed very few inter-county matches.
However, CRAC chairman Seamus Gardiner has denied such a policy of exclusion exists.
"I am stating categorically that it is not a policy of CRAC to penalise by non-reappointment referees in the circumstances described," he said. "The main criterion for appointments is still assessment -- despite a campaign by some to cast doubts on its value."
Gardiner also confirmed that Fox had been appointed to the Division One game next week on Tuesday last, before an Irish Independent article highlighting Fox's situation was published.