Sport Gaelic Football

Thursday 22 February 2018

Cooney insists violent incidents are decreasing

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

GAA president Christy Cooney remains adamant that incidents of violence towards match officials are decreasing significantly, despite assaults over the weekend in Tyrone and Tipperary.

The president said it would be "unfair" of him to comment on the assault of a referee and a board official by a supporter of a team after a ladies game in Tyrone on Friday night, because ladies football was a different association.

But he insisted that GAA policy towards such violence remains firm and that incidents are on the decrease.

"(What happened in) Tyrone is a matter for ladies football. It would be unfair of me to comment on another association," he said.

"But we abhor anything like that in our own association.

"There was an incident in Tipperary (involving an umpire) and in San Francisco where a player got a serious injury in an off-the-ball incident. Our policy is very clear.

"We want our county boards and our divisional boards to deal with those situations. It should not be tolerated under any circumstances."

But he is confident that the situation continues to improve.

"I can remember 30 years ago when there were a lot of incidents of this nature. I think it has improved enormously.

"I think it is a question of keeping people off the pitch as well.

"You know the policy we have undertaken in Croke Park.

"All the major championship games should be played in enclosed pitches and people shouldn't have the opportunity to get on to pitches to do harm to referees, officials or players on either side.

"I don't think I have heard of a major incident like these for quite a while. We shouldn't have to hear of them at all.

"Some people lose the run of themselves now and then. These things happen and they probably regret it enormously after that. But it is not acceptable."

Irish Independent

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