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Yellow card sanction won't fly in big-ball territory

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Referee James McGrath issues a yellow card

Referee James McGrath issues a yellow card

SPORTSFILE

Referee James McGrath issues a yellow card

The contrast in approach could scarcely have been greater.

Eugene McGee's Football Review Committee called for (and got) a tougher disciplinary line for illegal play, whereas Liam Sheedy's hurling equivalent have proposed (and probably won't get) an easing of sanctions.

The Hurling 2020 Committee contends that the number of hurlers sent off on second yellow card offences has reached a level which requires action. However, they blame circumstances rather than players.

They cite "mistimed fouls" as one reason. They also mention how these fouls "can occur early in a game when a referee is seeking to stamp his authority."

Once the first card is flashed, "the risk of getting a second yellow is then an issue."

They suggest a dilution of the rule so that when a player is sent off on a second yellow card, a replacement is allowed.

In my view, that has zero chance of being accepted.

Effectively, the committee blames mistimed tackles and over-zealous referees for many of the yellow cards, relieving players of all responsibility.

If the problem is caused by the former, it's up to players to correct it; if it's the latter, then better refereeing is the solution.

Cynical

Instead, the rules and their implementation are being targeted. Unquestionably, cynical play is less prevalent in hurling than football but it does happen.

However, in an apparent reference to the black card which applies in football, "there is no appetite for the introduction of another colour card in hurling," according to the committee.

Even if that's the case, it doesn't make it right.

The proposal of one v one in penalties was expected, even if it risks being an over-correction. The goal rate since forcing the striker to hit the ball from outside the 20-metre line has dropped but cutting the number on the goal line to one may be overly harsh. Would one v two not be worth a go?

The proposal to restrict to three the number allowed to defend against an ordinary 20-metre free has merit.

Many of the other proposals are straight-forward from a committee that clearly believes that there is little wrong with the rules.

However, it would be interesting if they threw out some more definite proposals about competition structures.

No doubt, the committee members worked hard, but it had a flawed make-up, since nobody from a Division 2 or 3 county was included.

Irish Independent