The GAA Football Review Committee (FRC) has launched the first of a two-part report which reviews the current state of Gaelic football at club and county level, the current playing rules, the role of administrators, coaches, managers and referees. It also includes proposals for changes to the playing rules and other aspects of the game and is available to read in full on gaa.ie and frc.ie.
The second report, focusing on championship structures and related matters, will be published in early 2013.
The report is the result of the largest consultation ever undertaken by the GAA on any matter over an eight month period with up to 4,000 people from 32 counties and abroad consulted in various ways. 3,170 people took part in an FRC online survey about various aspects of the game. Cynical/tactical fouling and deliberate time-wasting were among the top dislikes among survey respondents. The majority supported some form of sin bin style discipline to counter deliberate cynical play by a player and team. Referee inconsistency and also disrespect for referees were among the top five dislikes while the top things people like about the game include high catching, kicking skills and long range scores.
Speaking at the launch the FRC Chairman, Eugene McGee, said, ‘The overriding conclusion that has emerged from all this research is that Gaelic football is in a fairly healthy state. But while the basic structure of the game is in good shape there are some specific matters that have arisen in recent years which are a source of complaint from many football people and these are what the FRC was requested by GAA President Liam Ó Néill to examine and if necessary propose changes for the better”.
The FRC has made a number of proposals specifically to help reduce flashpoints and causes of needless frees in games and is suggesting heavier penalties for deliberate fouling and cynical play. In the interests of fairness to players, the FRC proposes that a distinction between ‘Accidental’ and ‘Deliberate’ fouls be written into the rules, with only ‘Deliberate’ fouls invoking a card punishment. 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.