Sunday 18 February 2018

Referee Fox left to ponder exclusion

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Westmeath referee Pat Fox has been overlooked for an Allianz Football League match for the third successive weekend.

However, Martin Sludden is back in action for a second inter-county game and will take charge of the Antrim v Sligo Division 2 game.

Fox showed a yellow card to Tyrone's Ryan McMenamin in Round 2 of the league against Donegal, when observers felt that his actions deserved a greater sanction. It is understood the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) asked Fox to review the incident, but he was satisfied with the action taken. The CCCC can only lay a greater charge at a player if it has clearance from the relevant referee.

Some officials are keen for a change and former ref John Bannon again has a motion to Congress looking for that responsibility to be taken away from referees. In the meantime, Fox has been left to ponder on his exclusion since that February league game.

The GAA insist that there is no hidden exclusion policy for referees who do not comply with the CCCC's desire to upgrade certain offences.

However, not everyone remains convinced. Brian Crowe refereed very few games of consequence after he opted not to open the way for further charges against Cork's Noel O'Leary for an incident involving Meath's Graham Geraghty in the 2007 All-Ireland semi-final. The CCCC asked Crowe, who had yellow-carded O'Leary, to review the incident but he stuck by his original decision, a move that allowed O'Leary to play in the All-Ireland final.

Meanwhile, Tipperary remain confident that their impasse with local referees will be resolved in the coming weeks following talks.

Irish Independent

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