Friday 15 December 2017

Bannon motion puts refs' call in spotlight

A motion from former All-Ireland final referee John Bannon to take the responsibility for retrospective punishment away from referees looks set to win sufficient support at this weekend's Congress.

Bannon's Legan Sarsfields club have tabled a motion seeking to modify rule 7.3 which governs the initiation of disciplinary action to place the responsibility for retrospective action back on the relevant Competition Controls Committee.

As it is, the CCCC or local CCC can only move on an incident which they feel was missed or deserved an upgraded punishment if it is done with the referee's approval. A video clip of the offence is sent to the referee who is asked to consider if he would have treated it differently if he had a second chance.

This, referees have argued, places undue pressure on them and Bannon, who announced his retirement from inter-county refereeing last year, has moved to tidy up the rule.

Bannon himself was offered the opportunity in his final game to suspend Cork defender John Miskella after he threw a punch at Tyrone's Brian McGuigan in last year's All-Ireland semi-final.

Bannon choose not to upgrade Miskella's offence from yellow to red, thereby giving Miskella the opportunity to play in the final.

Three years ago Brian Crowe passed up the opportunity to suspend another Cork defender Noel O'Leary after his altercation with Meath's Graham Geraghty.

However, Crowe appeared to suffer with the dearth of inter-county games he was subsequently given, and referees are privately convinced that unless they 'play ball' with the CCCC on these retrospective judgments, their careers won't progress.

Bannon's motion empowers CCCs to take the action themselves without consulting the referee. It is expected that the motion will gain the necessary two-thirds majority.

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