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Harte rejects 'tap and play'

TYRONE boss Mickey Harte has reacted angrily to the proposal to introduce a toe-tap and play on rule, calling it "off the wall".

Speaking at the launch of the Power NI McKenna Cup in Belfast, Harte was incensed at the proposal and immediately called for it to be scrapped.

The GAA are planning to trial the new rule next year, although it is not expected to be in place for the National Leagues.

The proposal, which originated from the Standing Rules Committee, headed by former GPA chief Dessie Farrell, is aimed at speeding up play and adding fluidity to games of a stop-start nature.

Under the rule, a player who is fouled can toe-tap the ball and play on rather than take the free from where the foul took place as is the current position.

Fouled

No opposition player within five metres of the fouled player may tackle him. If the opposition do not retreat the required distance, it is proposed that the referee could award a 45-metre free in front of the opposing goal.

The proposal is designed to put a stop to the cynical ploy of teams preventing a quickly taken free while they allow their defenders to track back and get into their marking positions.

It is hoped that the penalty of giving away a central 45-metre free would deter sides from slowing down the taking of frees, with the current punishment only seeing referees move the free 10 metres forward.

But Harte believes this new rule has no contribution to make to Gaelic football.

Detrimental

"I think it had no part to play in our games. It's detrimental and is absolutely off the wall. That's what it is," he said.

"That is absolutely no advantage to our game. It should not be allowed in. I see no value in it whatsoever.

"What are we doing here? What is it for? Will somebody tell me why it is in, for what advantage?"

Despite the clear aim of speeding up the game, Harte points out that it can still take an age for keepers like Dublin's Stephen Cluxton or Mayo's Robert Hennelly to come from the goalmouth to take a free.

"To speed up play and then we take a minute and a half to take a free-kick from a goalkeeper coming out," he added. "How would it be speeding up play? And is speeding up play the be-all and end-all of everything anyway?"


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