Saturday 21 April 2018

Masterson waiting to learn if Fahy apology enough

Masterson: Anxious wait
Masterson: Anxious wait
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Anthony Masterson will find out tomorrow if his apology to referee Derek Fahy has been contrite enough to avoid a two-month suspension.

The Irish Independent understands that a simple apology won't satisfy some members of the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC), who are behind the move to sanction the Wexford goalkeeper over his post-match comments about Longford referee Derek Fahy after the fourth-round All-Ireland qualifier in Portlaoise last Saturday week.

Masterson has confirmed that he's penning the apology as requested, with the CCCC due to make a decision on it tomorrow. The committee are keen to see sincerity from Masterson before they put a pen through a potential two-week ban.

He has already said publicly that "hand on heart" he did not mean to describe Fahy in the uncomplimentary terms that he did and was talking in the heat of the moment.

The CCCC acted last week as they deemed his comments to contravene regulation 10 of match protocols which governs pre- and post-match interviews.

It's not clear whether Masterson would have been taken to task over his comments had they been made away from the match venue.

In weighing up Masterson's interview, the CCCC also examined the avenues open to them to sanction a number of Wexford footballers highly critical of Fahy on Twitter last week.

But with rules unable to govern Twitter, it was established that there was no basis to place a charge against any of those Wexford players who used the social networking site to vent their frustration.

Some of those players took to Twitter again yesterday in reaction to Masterson's mea culpa, with full-back Graeme Molloy declaring it a "joke" that a player is "forced to apologise for telling the truth".

Aindreas Doyle, who claimed last week that he will consider quitting if Hawk-Eye is not introduced, took the GAA to task for failing to act when players are criticised in the media.

"#GAA silent when players get slated on TV/papers. We are scrutinised by every man and his dog surely we as individuals can have an opinion," he wrote.

His team-mate Adrian Morrissey added: "#gaa trying to take away player rights to express honest opinions, its all about the ref, all2often they take limelight for wrong reasons."

The move on Masterson is the first time in many years that the GAA have taken action on a player or manager for comments made in an interview.

And it's being seen as a sign that adverse comments made about referees on TV, radio or media interviews attached to a game will not be treated lightly any more.

Last year, Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick described referee Martin Sludden as "Dick Turpin without the mask" in a post-match interview after the controversial Leinster football final, but he escaped any sanction.

The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) declined to comment on Masterson's imminent act of contrition, but have been in touch with the player, it is understood.

They have already come out firmly in favour of the deployment of Hawk-Eye, even if it's installed only in Croke Park to keep costs down, and believe that video technology has to be introduced to assist referees where possible.

Irish Independent

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