Saturday 21 April 2018

Has black card spawned new form of super-cynicism?

Former top referee Pat McEnaney. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Former top referee Pat McEnaney. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Páraic Duffy said it was "really important that referees get it right more often this summer", while former top referee Pat McEnaney dispensed with diplomacy, stating that "it was a bit embarrassing at times during last year's championship".

'It' is the implementation of the 'black card', a refereeing task that, in theory, looks fairly straightforward but which is becoming increasingly controversial. Why is that the case? After all, how difficult can it be to decide when a player commits a cynical foul?

'Very' appears to be the answer, despite the rule being in place since 2014. Interestingly, Duffy believes - and it's a view shared by many referees - that the problem is being exacerbated by a growing trend among fouled players to attempt to make it look like a black-card offence.

In effect, it's cheating. It's risky too. If you get an opponent sent off in the wrong today, you could be the victim next week.

In which case, don't look for any sympathy. The rule was brought in to stamp out cynical fouling, which is good for all players, but it now appears that a new form of super-cynicism has crept in.

Irish Independent

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