| 11.7°C Dublin

O'Neill steps up presidential bid

THE favourite to become next GAA president, Liam O'Neill, has called for sweeping changes to the association's disciplinary structures.

The Laois man has also advocated the use of video technology to immediately clear up controversies such as Joe Sheridan's illegal goal that won the Leinster SFC final for Meath - a viewpoint at odds with current GAA president Christy Cooney who says he is "totally opposed" to its introduction.

O'Neill believes the current Official Guide is inadequately equipped to deal with exceptional circumstances such as the Meath/Louth debacle while adding that the current disciplinary system is "very dragged out".

He would favour scrapping the current multi-layered system, starting with the CCCC.

"Pat Daly (Games manager in Croke Park) 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 pointed out.

"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."

O'Neill - who is National Coaching and Games Development chairman - accepts that it could prove difficult to get Congress approval for rule changes relating to video technology, but he added: "Where it's available, it's crazy not to use it, absolutely. That referee (Martin Sludden) should have been able to walk over to somebody or on his ear-piece to someone in the stand, (ask) 'Was there an issue there?', go into his umpires, thrash it out and deal with it on the spot."

The former Leinster chairman wants established inter-county referees (who weren't chosen for championship matches) acting as umpires, with extended powers to call fouls, and in this scenario a referee would need just two umpires instead of four. And he described the five-year moratorium on playing rule changes as "ludicrous".

O'Neill also wants an end to long-winded acceptance speeches from victorious All-Ireland captains while adding that the "tide has run out" on pitch invasions.