Saturday 18 January 2020

DRA may order 'behind closed doors' games

Monaghan's Eoin Duffy in action against Louth’s Andy McDonnell during the league game which, after Monaghan won a DRA appeal, was played in Clones
Monaghan's Eoin Duffy in action against Louth’s Andy McDonnell during the league game which, after Monaghan won a DRA appeal, was played in Clones
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Counties that engage in 'disruptive conduct' could in future be exposed to a dramatic 'shopping list' of penalties as set out by the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) in their judgment delivered on the recent case taken by Monaghan County Board.

A series of 'sentencing guidelines' have been written into the DRA decision paper that include having a league point deducted or being forced to play their next home matches behind closed doors or at neutral venues.

The decision that Monaghan should have to forfeit home advantage for their next home match was last week quashed by a DRA panel, which ruled that Central Hearings Committee had "usurped the expressly reserved scheduling and fixture role of the CCCC (Central Competitions Controls Committee) with respect to the National Football League."

However, in acknowledging the CHC's right to tackle disorderly conduct, the DRA panel did provide a sequence of potential penalties which could clearly have arbitration approval in the future.

For future incidents of disruptive conduct that don't lead to the termination of games, they have set out how the CHC could be within its remit to request future home matches to be played behind closed doors, with only relevant team, health and safety and media personnel permitted.

The DRA panel, which included former Na Fianna (Dublin) club footballer and barrister Aaron Shearer, also suggests that the results of games could be annulled and replayed behind closed doors or at a neutral venue.

And a deduction of one league point is also set out as potential punishment in any future cases that may come up for arbitration.

The DRA does stress that such sentencing guidelines "are very much instructive and indicative and they are certainly not mandatory or prescriptive."

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They also recommend that advance notice is given for such a shopping list of penalties.

Monaghan's case has been put back to the CHC for rehearing, though it's unlikely that they will proceed with any of the more extreme measures as set out by the DRA.

Referee Joe McQullan described the altercation that took place just before the interval in Clones last month as a "scuffle."

In their submission, the CHC chairman Liam Keane outlined how their decision to forfeit home advantage was in line with previous "creative and imaginative" sanctions.

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