Friday 23 February 2018

GAA to close loophole after Austin Gleeson fiasco

CCCC’s powers to be widened allowing video evidence to change referee’s decision

Waterford's Austin Gleeson. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Waterford's Austin Gleeson. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Martin Breheny​

The anomaly which allowed Austin Gleeson to escape disciplinary action for a helmet-pulling incident during last Sunday's All-Ireland hurling semi-final is almost certain to be closed before next year's championships.

He is free to line out against Galway in the final on September 3 after referee James Owens told the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) that he had adjudicated on the incident in which Gleeson pulled the helmet off Cork's Luke Meade.

Such an offence merits a red card and a one-match ban, as happened Gleeson's Waterford colleague Tadhg de Búrca during the quarter-final clash with Wexford.

If the CCCC were told that the referee had not seen the Gleeson incident, they could have initiated a case against him.

However, once Owens informed them that he had adjudicated on it, his word is final and no further action can be taken.

GAA sources have indicated that the relevant rule will now come under scrutiny, with a view to widening the CCCC's powers so that even where a referee states that he ruled on a controversial incident in real time, it can be re-opened if the video evidence shows that he called it wrong.

That would require a rule change but is likely to receive widespread support, arising from what is an embarrassment in the run-up to the All-Ireland final.

Television footage left little doubt that Gleeson had, at the very least, a case to answer.

Instead, he escaped without sanction, showing up a blatant flaw in the rules ahead of the most important game of the year.

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Irish Independent

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