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Harte toughens stance on 'video nasties'

THE 'trial by TV' debate raged on in Croke Park yesterday though two of the chief opponents -- aggrieved Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and GAA President Christy Cooney -- agreed on one point at least: disciplinary infractions not suitably punished by a referee in league matches are likely to go unnoticed unless the match has been screened live.

Harte's contention that the system is unfair is a long-held stance further hardened by the recent bans handed down to Red Hand trio Conor Gormley, Justin McMahon and Martin Penrose by the CCCC upon reviewing the 'video nasty' of Tyrone's opening round NFL defeat to Derry in Celtic Park.

"It's not a fair system. If it's selective it's not fair," blasted Harte yesterday, who added that the Tyrone county board would be discussing the possibility of banning live television cameras from Healy Park.

"You have to accept that it's clear that they are being disadvantaged because they happen to be on live television. If you are going to scrutinise every game in the Allianz League and go through it in fine detail and come with all these after effects then we'll all live with that.

"But at the moment it's not right and it's not fair because you are being disadvantaged being on live TV."

Cooney agreed that teams with a greater exposure to live television cameras were more vulnerable to retrospective disciplinary action but remained firm on his position that wherever video evidence is available to the CCCC in disciplinary cases, appropriate punishment will be meted out.

"It is probably true, in fairness, because you are under the microscope of the television cameras and there are incidents spotted that the referee hasn't seen or that the referee has made a call on and needs to review it," he said.

"It is not our intention to just go hunting after players," Cooney added.

"They are not on a witch-hunt under any circumstances and if there is an incident involved deemed to be greater than dealt with in the referee's report, and particularly when the referee hasn't seen it, there is an onus on the CCCC to take a course of action."