Wednesday 26 July 2017

More playing rule changes could be on the way

Jarlath Burns said any proposal concerning rule changes would only be made after detailed statistical analysis supported the need for change
Jarlath Burns said any proposal concerning rule changes would only be made after detailed statistical analysis supported the need for change
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

More playing rule changes could on the way in football and hurling.

Despite both codes having undergone major reviews in recent years, the rules are again under scrutiny by a committee, chaired by Jarlath Burns (Armagh).

They are currently examining various options and if they decide that some deserve wider consideration, they will put them before Central Council in October.

Then, it will be up to that body to decide if the proposals should go before Congress next February.

Burns said any proposal would only be made after detailed statistical analysis supported the need for change.

"Anything we come up with will be based on empirical evidence. We won't be operating on anecdotal accounts. One thing we will certainly be trying to avoid is any change that might make life harder for referees," said Burns.

Various changes were made in football after a review chaired by Eugene McGee, followed by a similar exercise in hurling by a committee chaired by Liam Sheedy.

However, GAA president Aogán ó Fearghail appointed Burns to head a new group - catering for both codes - when he took over last February.

Burns declined to comment on any area where proposals might emerge but there will be a lot of interest in whether an effort is made to curtail handpassing in football.

McGee's committee decided against it two years ago but suggested that close scrutiny be maintained to see if it needed to be revisited at a later stage.

Incessant use of the handpass has, if anything, got even more prevalent over the past few years and is now rampant all the way down to juvenile level.

The other members of the committee are: John Tobin (Connacht Council); Seamus Hickey (Limerick), Pat Daly (Croke Park); Seán Boylan (Meath), Frank Murphy (Cork), Darragh ó Sé (Kerry).

The late Dave Billings (UCD) was also a member.

Irish Independent

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