Officials face ‘monumental’ task

Leinster secretary Michael Delaney believes the fourth official is under too much pressure to ensure that new sideline regulations are adhered to.

Although a supporter of the new policy which restricts teams to five personnel on pitch-side, Delaney has a number of issues with how it will be operated and the logistics surrounding it.

In his report to the annual provincial convention, Delaney wrote: “I have real concerns about the proposed monitoring and reporting of breaches of match regulations.

“This will be done by, or through, the sideline official and must then form part of the referee’s report. It sounds like a monumental task but only time will tell.”

Delaney also fears some stadiums aren’t suited to the new regulations while he is worried about the amount of fines county boards may pick up for not abiding by them.

“Many of our venues are just not geared to facilitate this major change in the location of teams officials and other members of the playing party.

“This is particularly true at some of our smaller venues (where minor and U21 fixtures tend to be played) but it also applies at a number of our larger venues.

“Consequently, remedial work must be immediately undertaken to facilitate this change of regulation. Another concern of mine relates to the old chestnut of the penalties for breach of match regulations. For the most part penalties are in the form of fines on the offending party with the amount being decided by the category of game involved.

“This puts undue pressure on county chairmen and secretaries not to mention the nightmare it brings to treasurers. Surely more emphasis should be put on sanctioning the offending individuals, rather than the helpless (in most cases) county committees.”

Again being constructively critical, Delaney said the Football Review Committee shouldn’t have altered their recommendations to introduce the proposed black card.

“I would be a little concerned that the committee appears to have rowed back a little, on some proposals, in response to negative criticism from some areas. This should not happen as the original proposals came about after what we are told was a hugely extensive canvas of opinion across the country.”

Delaney backed the new All-Ireland SHC structure motion, which has particular ramifications for the Leinster competition with regards to the new qualifying group from 2014. But he warned the province is suffering a shortage of hurling match officials.

“Looking at our own fixtures schedule during provincial club Championship time, and again during the accident tournament (pre-season) competitions, it is alarming to see how difficult it is to come up with sufficient match officials, particularly in hurling, to cover our programme of games. This should make us appreciate the task, therefore, faced by county committees every week in covering their programme of games.”

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