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Tipp referees threaten strike action

Tipperary's referees are threatening to withdraw their services from league matches this weekend because of a dispute with the County Board over cost cutting measures.

It is understood that the referees, which include football and hurling's best known names like Willie Barrett, Johnny Ryan and Paddy Russell, have pulled rank over the restrictions to the use of match passes given to themselves and their team of umpires and a reduction in meal allowances for county semi finals and finals.

A full programme of county football league matches is due to take place this weekend. The referees had sought a meeting with the Board last night but the Board were not in a position to meet, deferring it instead until Thursday night next.

As a result of this, the referees have opted to strike this weekend and will continue to do so if the matter is not resolved to their satisfaction.

The referees have said they will not apply their action to games within their own respective divisions.

Referees and their team of officials have been entitled to €20 meal allowances for county quarter finals, semi finals and finals. But this allowance has been withdrawn for quarter finals and is now €15 for semi finals and finals.

But the main grievance the referees have is over the restriction on the use of passes for themselves and their officials.

Tipperary are currently without a sponsor and the cost cutting measures are being applied across the board.

Tipperray PRO Ger Ryan said the Board are "very willing" to talk to the referees but were not in a position to do so until next week.

"If they want to decide to take this course of action before there is discussion on it then that is their entitlement," said Ryan who is confident of resolution.

Meanwhile, Liam O'Neill looks set to succeed Christy Cooney as the next GAA president without a vote being cast.

The current Leinster Council chairman Sheamus Howlin will bow out of office at the province's annual convention in Longford tomorrow, where he is expected to announce that he will not contest the presidential election.

Irish Independent