Tuesday 21 January 2020

Mickey Harte calls for end to 'ridiculous' black card

Mickey Harte. Photo: Sportsfile
Mickey Harte. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Bogue

Mickey Harte has called for the black card to be taken out of the rulebook.

Asked yesterday about the controversial Ulster final decisions which saw Matthew Donnelly and Cathal McShane having to be replaced, Harte vented his frustration at how the black card is being interpreted.

"I'd be a very biased person to ask about that. I would bin it right now," he declared. "I don't have to tell you again that I was never an advocate of the black card anyway. I really did not see the value in it ... it adds another degree of difficulty to the job of referees.

"When there is so many things to attend to, I might never sound like I am sympathetic to referees, but I do understand the difficulty of what they have to do in live time. Why add another dimension of difficulty, when what attracts a black card now was always a yellow card material anyway?"

He added: "Those decisions that happen could be very hurtful for a player and they could lose something very special in their career over it."

Another element he's unhappy with is the delay in appealing black card decisions, until a player has accrued three and is due a suspension. "My view is that it is about as ridiculous as the introduction of the black card at all. I just don't understand it," Harte said.

"I think it's grossly unfair that you've to reflect back to something that happened eight or nine months to something that happened then, get the footage and relive that situation and have someone make a retrospective judgement on that."

He feels a sleight of hand has occurred in the introduction of the rule, and compared it to the 'mark' rule which is set to come in next year. "You can appeal everything else within three days. It's moving the goalposts again to suit yourself. Just like moving the goalposts to suit the mark," he said.

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Harte added that Matthew Donnelly and Ronan O'Neill have overcome recent knocks in club games and are available for Saturday's game with Mayo.

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