Refs undermined when bans overturned
Published 26/08/2015 | 02:30
Proposing an eight-week ban on Tiernan McCann for allegedly discrediting the GAA when he tumbled to the ground after Darren Hughes tousled his hair in the Tyrone-Monaghan All-Ireland quarter-final was a serious error of judgement, since there was never a chance it would be upheld.
In fact, it has done damage as it has become yet another case where a punishment was overturned. Presumably, the Central Competitions Control Committee wanted to highlight just how seriously they took the McCann incident, but their enthusiasm should not have extended into making a rash decision, which was doomed from the start because it wasn't catered for under rule.
The McCann case overshadowed two other significant findings by the Central Hearing Committee, which rescinded the red card to Kevin Keane and Conor Meyler's black card.
No doubt, the committee felt it had solid grounds for the decisions, but the reality is that the more often referees' calls are deemed to be wrong, the less respect there will be for them.
Also, it might well tempt referees into dodging the hard calls, in case they are later adjudged to have been wrong. That would be disastrous for the credibility of the disciplinary system.