Referees back controversial black card rule despite heavy criticism
Referees are not concerned by criticisms of the black card rule and remain quite happy to continue implementing as it currently stands.
Seán Walsh, chairman of the Referees' Development Committee, said that the rule, introduced at the start of 2014 as an antidote to cynical play, wasn't causing any problems for officials as they had a clear understanding of when it should be applied.
"We meet every three weeks to discuss things and I can honestly say that referees have no problems whatsoever with the black card. They are encouraged to raise anything that's of concern to them but the black card hasn't been among the issues raised," said Walsh.
Mickey Harte has described the black card sanction as ridiculous but Walsh said it was important to remember the reason for its introduction.
"It was brought in to discourage cynical play and, in the main, it has done that. We must be conscious that it was introduced because there was an urgent need for it.
"You would prefer if that wasn't the case but unfortunately it was. I have no doubt that the black card has cut out a lot of cynical stuff and led to higher scores overall, Surely we don't want to go back to the way things were before?" he said.
Walsh accepts that there are public misconceptions about the black card, which lead to frustration over some decisions.
"It's there as a deterrent to cynical play. I know there have been cases where spectators have questioned why some player wasn't black-carded for a tackle around the neck but that's a yellow-card offence and is rightly being dealt with as such."
Walsh said he strongly supported the 'sin-bin', which was experimented with some years ago before being discarded after intense pressure from team managers.
"I favoured the sin-bin but it never got a real chance," he said.
"The black card is different. It's well-established now and doing a good job as far as I'm concerned."