Sunday 23 July 2017

Time for change

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

LIAM O'Neill -- the only candidate who has officially declared his interest in becoming the GAA's next president -- has hinted at a radical overhaul of the Association's disciplinary procedures, including the scrapping of the Central Competitions Controls Committee (CCCC) in its current form, and has also proposed a raft of sweeping changes.

O'Neill claimed the current disciplinary system is "very dragged out" and pointed to Louth's controversial defeat in the Leinster SFC final as an example of how the current rule book is inadequately equipped to deal with exceptional circumstances when they arise.

"(Games manager) Pat Daly has been talking for a number of years about a three-man body sitting on a Monday morning to review the weekend's events," O'Neill said.

"That should be done immediately. It should be done by a three-man group where you'd have a lawyer who would know sports law, a GAA person, maybe a former player or somebody of standing within the GAA playing community, and a neutral from a different sporting body who would say: 'That's out of order, in no code would that be allowed.'

"That should be happening on discipline anyway. And that body could also, if we gave them powers, look at situations like what happened (with Louth) and say this is just beyond what our rules can control, but we should really do something about it."

Incumbent president Christy Cooney has already stated that the current disciplinary process is under review, meaning that any changes could be in place before the next president is installed in 2012.

O'Neill also said the 'mark', which was trialled in the league earlier this year, may be reintroduced in another form and that the rule that sees proposed rule changes trialled only every five years may also come under review.

The Laois man wants to see established referees act as umpires at inter-county matches where they would be given extended powers to ensure fair play.

O'Neill also insisted that the "tide had run out" on pitch invasions and although he said a rule regarding the use of video technology would have to be carefully drawn up, he maintained that it would be "crazy not to use it" when possible.

He argued that many of these changes could be introduced as soon as next April's Congress.

"Those of us who are involved at an official level are the custodians of the game and the organisation at the moment," O'Neill said. "It's up to us to develop the game and pass it on to the next generation in good nick."

Irish Independent

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