No ban reprieve for All-Ireland after U-turn
ALL-IRELAND final dispensation for players who pick up a one-match ban for three black or double yellow cards will not be given, it has emerged as the motions for GAA Congress in Derry next month were made public.
The Football Review Committee had originally proposed that a player who picked up three yellow cards in a season would be obliged to serve a two-match ban.
But when this was reviewed in early January and the concept of a black card for five specific offences was introduced, it was decided to punish three cumulative double yellow or black cards with a one-match ban.
However, if the third of these was picked up in an All-Ireland semi-final, dispensation for the next match in that competition, which is an All-Ireland final, would be given.
Referees were believed to be in favour of this clause, and Donegal's All-Ireland winning manager Jim McGuinness was one of those to warmly embrace it too when the revised proposals came out, on the basis that no one deserved to miss a match of that scale for those cumulative offences.
But Congress will not now be asked to make exception for any match next month.
A further review reflected on the message being sent out by such a dispensation and how, in relative terms, a provincial final could be deemed just as important to one county as an All-Ireland final would be to another one.
The recommendations from the FRC dominate the clár, with the finer detail of what's proposed being revealed.
The proposal for the mark includes the proviso that the free awarded must be taken within five seconds. If the mark taker is injured, he can pass it over to the nearest available player. However, they will not be allowed to score directly from that kick.
Motions on changes to the structures of the Liam MacCarthy Cup (All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship tier one) and the football qualifiers have also had their final draft.
The GAA's rules advisory committee has submitted the majority of motions, many of a technical nature closing various loopholes.
But one interesting one is the request for greater powers for Croke Park to monitor the club championship fixtures in a county if they are falling behind on their schedule due to unwarranted postponements.
Donegal's decision to defer their entire championship until after the All-Ireland final was known to have been of concern, especially when it was wrapped up in just over three weeks.
The penalties for contravening general Association policy on the running of club championships range from financial to even disqualification from the following year's championship.
Up to now, provincial councils have had powers to step in on such matters, but a motion to enable Central Council to do this is significant.
In his report earlier this week, director general Paraic Duffy highlighted the need for provincial councils to accept more responsibility when it came to implementing policy.
Duffy has described this year's Congress as a "crucial one" with the scale of changes across the board being proposed.
All-Ireland hurling championships
Central Council seeks to apply an upper limit to the number of teams participating in the Liam MacCarthy Cup to 13 by 2016. Currently there are 15 competing counties.
The position of 10 counties – Cork, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford in Munster and Kilkenny, Galway, Offaly, Wexford and Dublin in Leinster – in the MacCarthy Cup is enshrined until 2016.
The establishment of a provincial round-robin qualifier for Leinster, initially involving the other five teams (reducing to three by 2016) – Laois, Westmeath, Antrim, Carlow and London – would see the winners qualifying for the last Leinster quarter-final place.
The bottom team in 2014 and 2015 would be relegated, while the second from bottom team would play the Christy Ring Cup winners in a play-off to determine who plays in the following year's MacCarthy Cup.
stadia for Rugby World Cup
Central Council seeks the power to authorise the use of Croke Park and other stadia for games in the 2023 and 2027 Rugby World Cup, if the tournament is staged in Ireland.
Football Review Committee
Motions four to 14 on the clár cover the recent FRC proposals relating to aggressive fouls that are now classified as "cynical behaviour".
In Motion 4, the introduction of a black card covers the five fouls covered in the five subsequent motions.
The term "deliberately" is stressed in "pulling down an opponent", "tripping an opponent with hand(s), arm, leg or foot" and "body colliding with an opponent after he has played the ball away or for the purpose of taking him out of a movement of play."
"Threatening an opponent or using abusive or provocative language or gestures to an opponent or team-mate" or "remonstrating in an aggressive manner with a match official" are also deemed black-card offences.
If passed by a two-thirds majority, they will become effective at club and inter-county level on January 1, 2014.
Other related motions ask for an increase to six substitutions in football to cater for the limit of three substitutions allowed for black-carded players and that a player receiving a black card after a yellow card will be sent off with no substitute allowed.
A further motion seeks a one-match ban for players who pick up a cumulative total of three double yellow or black cards in the same year.
A significant change here from what the FRC proposed is that such suspensions will apply for All-Ireland finals.
Based on three of the "cynical behaviour" offences listed, a further motion empowers a referee with the discretion to decide what is deliberate and what is accidental.
An increase in the distance a referee can move the ball forward from 13 metres to 30 metres for dissent or obstructing play when a free is awarded is also proposed, as is a five-second "advantage rule" where a referee can bring play back to where a foul occurred within that time, if no advantage has been accrued.
Other motions from the FRC feature the mark, which will allow a player who catches a kick-out between the two '45s' a free which must be taken within five seconds, a clean pick-up off the ground, a point with an open hand, a public clock that will stop during delays, and the provision for 35-minute club games.
A new definition of the tackle will also be proposed.
The advantage rule and the change from 13 metres to 30 metres would apply from May onwards.
After a successful trial period, the GAA's Rules Advisory Committee now seeks to make match bans permanent for inter-county league and championships. However, suspensions that accrue from pre-season provincial competitions will still apply in time.
Additional branding on inter-county jerseys
Branding will extend to either the back or the sleeves of an inter-county jersey if this motion is passed, allowing for a second sponsor if a county chooses, or an extension of existing sponsorship.
The motion to enable the Hawk-Eye scoring detection system for points only is not time specific.
Dispensing with the six-day turnaround for beaten provincial finalists
The National Fixtures Planning Committee has put a lot of work into devising a system that will dispense with the dreaded six-day turnaround, which only two teams since 2001 – Dublin and Down – have managed to overcome.
Last year, Sligo managed only four points against Kildare, six days after losing the Connacht final to Mayo.
It involves splitting provincial championships, and consequently qualifier draws, into distinct A and B sections.
If a county is drawn in the A section of its provincial championship, it remains in the A section if it is subsequently involved in qualifiers. The four rounds of qualifiers will each have A and B sections.
The system proposed gives more certainty around when teams play qualifiers, but also reduces the number of potential qualifier opponents by half.
Draws will still exist but they will no longer carry the same suspense.
Strengthening Croke Park involvement in the monitoring of club fixture programmes and finances
Two motions here would empower Central Council to deal with counties who are not up to speed with their club championship programmes and finances.
Last year Donegal "abandoned" their senior championship until after the All-Ireland final. Provincial councils have powers in this regard, but this motion asks for direct involvement from Croke Park on fixtures and finances where current account deficits build up.
Others of interest
The Inclusion and Integration Committee with Maastricht Gaels (Europe) wants the GAA to take action against a broader range of infractions that are contrary to "principles of inclusion and diversity". This goes beyond the current "anti-sectarian/anti-racist" definition of rule 1.12.
Portarlington (Laois) and Claughaun (Limerick) want Go Games to apply from U-11 downwards, with U-12s allowed to compete in competitive leagues.
Central Council is proposing that, in future, sub-committees of county boards are appointed, not elected. Officers of divisional boards within a county would not be affected by this change.
The Rules Advisory Committee is seeking to define a parish by its boundary, not by the area that a parish priest has charge of.
The term "weaker" in reference to hurling counties will be replaced by counties with "special eligibility provisions for hurling".
A €500 fine will be imposed on counties that do not submit senior championship teams to the director general's office, for publication, by noon, four days prior to the relevant game.
Loughmore-Castleiney (Tipperary) are calling hurlers in all grades to remove their helmets during the National Anthem.
Bray Emmets (Wicklow) seek a change in the '13-day rule', where inter-county players are not obliged to play club championship games before an inter-county match, to seven days instead.
Nemo Rangers and St Nicholas (both Cork) want the dates of the All-Ireland football and hurling championships to be brought forward by two weeks.
St Anne's (Wexford) want the All-Ireland champions in hurling and football from the previous three years excluded from round one or phase one of the qualifiers.
Cornafean (Cavan) want the time relative to a repeat infraction where a suspension can be doubled to be reduced from 48 weeks to 24 weeks.
Monageer/Boolavogue (Wexford) want yellow cards issued in normal time not to carry over into extra-time.