Happy new year everybody. For the purposes of this piece, I am solely going to look at proposals that have clear influences on on-field activity. If you’ve got beef with Proposals 1, 2,3, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 12 you better look elsewhere. Let’s get to it.
The FRC proposes that a distinction between Accidental and Deliberate fouls be written into the Rules, with only Deliberate fouls invoking a card punishment.
Possible effect: This is largely related to Proposal 10 and its subsequent amendment so I’ll deal with it there.
The FRC proposes full and proper enforcement by referees of the rule governing field incursions. This is absolutely essential for the good of the game and such proper enforcement would go some way to address the issue of time-wasting.
Possible effect: Negligible. While this may reduce time-wasting in this respect, teams can, will, and indeed already do find other ways to kill the clock.
The FRC proposes that:
-Players issued with a Yellow Card should be subject to mandatory substitution for
the remainder of the game
-After a team has been given three Yellow Cards, any further Yellow Card will mean
the player going off with no substitution
-For inter-county competitions a cumulative total of three Yellow Cards for an
individual player in any one grade in the same year should lead to a two-match
-To be fair to all concerned, the number of substitutes permitted should be increased
from the present five to six, to coincide with the introduction of this proposed
-The above proposed changes should be introduced within the current rules and
implemented from 2014.
And the updated version…
In lieu of all yellow-card offences seeing a player go off, a black card will now be used for five offences which will merit mandatory substitution. As with the original proposal, three such offences will see the offending team down a man with an subsequent black cards also resulting in teams being unable to replace dismissed players.
1: To deliberately pull down an opponent ;
2: To deliberately trip an opponent with hand, arm or foot;
3: To deliberately body collide with an opponent after he has played the ball away or for the purpose of taking him out of the movement of play;
4: To use abusive or provocative language or gestures to players;
5: To remonstrate in an aggressive manner with a match official.
Possible effect: In terms of tactical application, this appears to be a case of treating symptoms rather than the illness. Collectively, teams use tactical fouls because the rules as they currently stand promote such action by not offering significant punishment. By focussing on individual incidents, it does nothing to deal with the wider issue of teams fouling to stop momentum as only certain severe instances will be subject to greater punishment. Borrowing an idea from Rugby, where teams that foul repetitively can have a player sin-binned would likely prove more effective. While the sin-bin per se isn’t exactly likely to get backing within GAA circles, applying the punishments laid out under the black card proposals for a greater quantity of deliberate team fouls would do more to address the bigger issue.
While not obvious, this rule will also have a direct impact on how referees deal with striking offences. The current rules recognises striking as a straight red-card but officials have been allowed to use their judgement and award only yellow cards where they deem appropriate. All five of the offences listed here are unquestionably inferior to striking, which makes sense considering its straight-red status. The new system however forces referees into doling out a lesser punishment to these offences (yellow or no punishment) or to remove their ability to make a judgement call and issue a red in every instance.
The FRC proposes that all offences currently attracting a 13-metre sanction should attract a 30-metre sanction. The FRC also proposes that, in addition to the existing rules, if the player who commits a foul has the ball he must place the ball on the ground immediately and retreat the required distance. Failure to do so should attract a 30-metre sanction.
Possible effect: This has been covered in depth elsewhere, particularly by Rob Carroll on Twitter. Fundamentally it’s the right direction but not far enough. In order to deter teams from obstructing frees the deterrent needs to be more punitive. A 50-metre sanction would be far more likely to turn a free into a scoring opportunity. With frees closer than 50 metres, bringing the ball to the 13-metre line and in front of the posts would probably get the message across.
The FRC proposes the following new Advantage Rule to replace Rule 4.36 and Rule 5.35, for implementation in 2013: “When a foul is committed the referee may allow the play to continue if he considers it to be to the advantage of the offended team. He shall signal that advantage by raising an arm upright. If he deems no advantage to have occurred he may subsequently award a free for that foul, from where it occurred. The referee shall allow the advantage to run
by maintaining his arm in the upright position for up to 5 seconds after the initial foul or for less time if it becomes clear that no advantage has accrued. He shall apply any relevant disciplinary action.”
Possible effect: This is one that removes pressure from officials to some degree, as they can call play back for a free if their judgement to allow play go on doesn’t aid the fouled team. There will however still be cause for referees to remain somewhat conservative, once a sixth second passes players and fans may not appreciate a delayed whistle.
The FRC proposes, for implementation in 2014, that:
- The Mark should be introduced for any catch from a kick-out where the ball is caught cleanly on or past the 45 metre line.
- The referee will blow his whistle to signify the player has caught the ball cleanly and earned the Mark. The player has the option to play on immediately or if he intends to avail of the Mark he must indicate this to the referee. If he elects to take the Mark he must then kick the ball from his hands
- Once he indicates he is taking the Mark, the opposition must retreat 10 metres to allow the player space to take the kick.
- If an opposition player deliberately blocks or attempts to block the kick within 10 metres, or if an opposition player impedes the player while he is taking the kick the referee will penalise the opposition and bring the ball forward 30 metres.
- Once the player indicates he is taking the Mark the Referee will allow up to 5
seconds for the player to take the kick.
- If the player delays longer than 5 seconds the referee will cancel the Mark and throw the ball up between 2 players.
- If the player gets injured in the process of taking the Mark, and is unable to take the kick, his nearest teammate may take the kick but cannot score directly from the kick.
Possible effect: Not much. The team that would have been most affected by this last year was Dublin, who played kick-outs beyond the 45 regularly but generally focussed on winning the battle after initial possession was claimed. Had this rule been in effect in 2012, they would certainly have been made adjust. More generally, teams that don’t play it short will more likely look for extra length in kick-outs, to reduce the impact of opponent’s winning a mark. Teams defending kick-outs will also be incentivised to compete for kick-outs without focussing on directly claiming clean possession, with disrupting opponent’s doing so a more pressing concern.
The FRC proposes that in addition to the existing rules on picking up the ball, a clean pick-up should be permitted, subject to the player being in an upright position, with at least one foot on the ground, while making the pick-up. Implementation date: 2014.
Possible effect: This is the rule in place in Ladies Football at present. While aimed at speeding up play, by allowing players to effectively turn while taking possession at speed, it tends to have a messier effect as more players descend on a loose ball at once even with the requirement to stay upright.
The FRC proposes the amendment of rule 3.1 to allow a point to be scored with the open hand as well as the fist, with implementation in 2013.
Possible effect: This is one clearly aimed at reducing the burden on referees. Making a judgement call on whether a hand is open or closed from a position where the official is likely in pursuit of play, especially at lower levels, isn’t easy.
The FRC proposes that a public time clock be introduced in Croke Park and in all grounds used for Provincial and All-Ireland series games in 2013 and rolled out thereafter as practicable. The clock should be stopped for injuries, with the clock stopped and restarted as indicated visibly by the referee and also audibly where possible (if wired up) to the official in charge of the clock. When the game time has elapsed this would be signalled by a hooter, with any ball in flight allowed to complete its journey, and if that resulted in a score, that score would stand.
Possible effect: Longer games. This will definitely reduce the impact on time wasting due to prolonged treatment of injuries but will, in all likelihood, see far more additional time in matches. Particularly as the it won’t be widespread for all inter-county games, meaning teams that time-waste (read: all of them) will be no less prone to doing so.
The FRC proposes that the duration of the adult club game be changed from 60 minutes to 70 minutes for all adult club competitions. It is believed this time period is more in keeping with the fitness level of the modern-day adult club players. Implementation date: 2014
Possible effect: A lot of unfit dudes falling over. In all seriousness, at senior club level this makes a lot of sense but down the levels, where more social players are active, this could make for longer but not necessarily better games. Admittedly I am coming at this from the perspective of former Junior C3 Hurler. Now that I think about it, this actually makes me particularly qualified to judge.
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