Murphy warns against needless tinkering
THE GAA runs the risk of portraying football and hurling as games which are in urgent need of rules reform when, in fact, very little adjustment is required.
That's the view of Ulster council secretary Danny Murphy, who believes that only areas which show clear problems should be addressed.
"Any playing rule change needs to demonstrate that there is a problem in the specific area and that the proposed change addresses the issue involved," writes Murphy in his annual report. "It also needs to show that any change is enforceable and does not place the referee in an impossible position.
"The new trial rules are in danger of conveying that there are problems with the games themselves. Without setting forth the rationale for what is being attempted, we could cause a loss of public confidence in the games themselves which, if played and refereed in accordance with the rules, are a wonderful spectacle.
"We need to manage this area better and when we as an association advocate change we should be able to articulate the reasons why it is necessary."
Welcoming the agreement between Croke Park and the GPA, Murphy expresses the hope that, after years of controversy, the deal is the start of a better way forward.
"We need to recognise the tremendous commitment of our players; they are our most essential asset. The one matter that appears central to a fully integrated approach and a workable way forward is the need to recognise the overall structure of the GAA and the democratic imperative of our rules."
Warning that the recession is now impacting on all parts of society, he fears that the relationship between various units of the GAA and financial institutions could become a concern.
"There is a need for an urgent review of the rules covering our control of property, the appointment of trustees and the processing of borrowing limits for our clubs," he writes.