Thursday 22 February 2018

Referee numbers may be cut

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The panel of league and championship referees may shrink further if some of the top match officials have their way.

A meeting of the grade one referees to review the season last week discussed the prospect of reducing the numbers further so that refs get more games throughout the season.

No firm decision has been taken but the referees will meet in the coming weeks to discuss the issue again.

Last year the National Referees Committee (NRC) oversaw the reduction of the championship panel from 18 to 16 in football, but with Armagh referee Padraig Hughes suffering an injury in the Dublin/Donegal league match that figure went back up to 17 in 2013.

No decision on championship panels will be made until after the 2014 league, but there is a desire among top referees to cut the numbers again to 14 or even 12.

This season the hurling panel was scaled down to nine after the removal of three referees prior to the championship.

NRC chairman Pat McEnaney has been consistent in his desire to see fewer referees taking charge of more games and has indicated in the past that numbers at the top level will go lower on his watch.

The top referees believe that the more active they are the better they become.

Irish Independent

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