Wednesday 21 March 2018

Simple steps can help refs

John Greene

John Greene

It is baffling that Hawk-Eye is still on the GAA agenda. In time, it may be that it makes sense to introduce the technology to the football and hurling championships, but surely the first thing to do is get the most out of existing resources.

Gaelic games are in the happy position of having seven officials at every game -- a referee, two linesmen and four umpires -- and while one, the referee, is completely overworked, the remaining six are not.

In fact, as we have seen in the last two summers, many are not even up to the job.

The first thing the GAA needs to do is to completely overhaul its selection and preparation process for all match officials. In tandem with this, the rules need to be changed to give linesmen and umpires more input on the field and more freedom to be of genuine assistance to the referee.

Other practical measures which should be implemented straight away include higher goalposts, the abolition of the square ball rule and demotion for match officials who mess up key decisions.

In all the high-profile refereeing controversies we have had in the last two years, the Hawk-Eye system could only have been used to definitively settle one of them: Ian Ryan's disputed winning point for Limerick against Wexford a few weeks back.

Before another euro is spent on Hawk-Eye by the GAA, the above recommendations should be implemented. And after that, a great big dollop of common sense should be doled out to referees, linesmen and umpires -- and that's one thing that won't cost half a million.

Sunday Indo Sport

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