GAA opt to get tough in bid to stamp out confrontations on sidelines
GAA managers will be restricted to patrol just a 20-metre strip of sideline in their own half of the field from January, it has emerged.
The new match regulations – which see the numbers permitted in the sideline area reduced from 12 to five – have also defined the area in which a manager can move.
From now on, managers will be restricted to moving between the 45-metre and 65-metre lines on the side of their own dug-out or designated area.
It is designed to avoid confrontations between rival managers and selectors.
It had been anticipated that managers would have the freedom to move between the 45-metre line and the halfway line, but a fresh set of proposals before Central Council on Saturday opted for much tighter restrictions.
GAA president Liam O'Neill is on the record as saying his personal preference would be to have everyone removed from the sideline area.
GAA officials are confident that the measures, which also see county board officials confined to the official designated areas – either in the stands or in dug-outs that have now specified enclosure in the stands (Pairc Tailteann in Navan and St Conleth's Park in Newbridge, for example) – will be accepted by managers.
A match monitor will also be appointed to championship matches and other major finals to ensure that all match regulations are being adhered to.
The status of games has also been categorised so that different levels of fines can be applied. The maximum fine for breaking any of the regulations will be €500.
Category A games include all senior championship matches and major finals (league, minor, U-21); Category B games incorporate all other inter-county games, while Category C games cover club activity.
All the new match regulations are to apply at club level where possible too.
The main concern is the reduction of water and hurley carriers from four to two.
A point made by one Central Council delegate on Saturday was the number of hurls that players bring with them on match day could provide too much work for just two hurley carriers.
The GAA has been known to relax its protocols for water carriers on warm days.
The new measures are sure to draw some reaction from managers in the coming days and weeks, though whether it will be on the same scale as it was six years ago when similar measures were brought in is questionable.