Sport Hurling

Thursday 18 January 2018

Forde has solid case for avoiding ban

Tipperary's Jason Forde Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Tipperary's Jason Forde Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The decision by Tipperary and Jason Forde not to accept the proposed two-match ban on the midfielder, arising from his clash with Davy Fitzgerald during the Allianz hurling League semi-final, will be proven correct.

Here's why. If he's charged under the rule - and it appears to be the grounds for the case - deeming it an offence for a player to indulge in "any type of assault on an opposing team official", the GAA's disciplinary heads are wasting their time.

The wording of rules have to mean what they say and while Forde and Fitzgerald jostled, it would stretch descriptive powers to breaking point to suggest there was an 'assault' involved. Prefixing it with 'any type' wouldn't stand up to even the most basic scrutiny either.

As a manager, Fitzgerald was dealt with under a different rule and will serve an eight-week ban. Forde will go before the Hearings Committee and, if he loses there, he can move on to the Appeals Committee and, ultimately, the DRA, if required.

That's where the use of language, specifically the definition of 'assault', would be really tested. A quick flick through the video would show that, whatever happened, it wasn't 'any type of assault.' I expect Forde to win his case at the first hurdle, followed by GAA legislators revisiting the wording of that rule.

Irish Independent

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