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Delaney: loopholes used to circumvent rule book

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By Jim O’Sullivan
THE GAA must redraft its rule book as a matter of priority if it’s to close off loopholes in the disciplinary process, according to Leinster Council Secretary Michael Delaney.

Writing in his annual report that players have escaped censure for serious incidents because of flaws exposed in the rules, he states that in the past year there were "far more cynical acts of violence" than those witnessed in Omagh two weeks ago. Yet, only some of those were punished.

Mr Delaney, one of the most senior administrators in the Association, also welcomes the decision to "open" Croke Park, having floated the idea as far back as 1991 of the stadium being used for other sports and famously being told he "would have the blood of (Michael) Hogan" on his hands.

While acknowledging that some hold strong views "in the other direction", Mr Delaney says they must concentrate on their core responsibilities.

"Everybody knows what these are and money will not fulfil them all. Any lingering residue of this historic decision has the ability to fester and that would help none of us. There are enough obstacles out there to stifle our progress as an Association without adding to them from within," he says.

Recalling that the council was the first to have a disciplinary decision challenged by the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA), he says the understanding was that it was put in place to prevent members or units resorting to court action "to circumvent the rules."

"Few could have foreseen how things would pan out. Beliefs which we held for years were found to have feet of clay while blatant indiscipline escaped censure because of frailties in our structures,'' he adds.

"The bible by which we have ruled, and have been ruled, now appears to have defects. Some will argue that our rule book is properly called the Official Guide, but surely we need something stronger than guidelines to administer an association like ours.

"There is a new cottage industry development in the underbelly of the GAA, ie, a small group of people who have developed the ability to pick holes in any of our rules. This is a disturbing development and is in no way connected to the DRA.

"The Central Council must immediately take serious steps to put our rules in order. I know that this is being addressed but progress seems to be slow. Until we have this area rectified all attempts at proper administration will be compromised.

"To judge from the recent outbursts of outrage one would think that there was no indiscipline in Gaelic games before February 5th in Omagh. Granted, it was not pretty truth to tell it was downright disgraceful. But, it wasn't new. In fact I would go so far as to say that the year under review contained far more cynical acts of violence than the recent National League game between Dublin and Tyrone. Some were punished, but others were not.'

"Disciplinary committees can only do so much they have vested interests, a 'saw nothing heard nothing' mentality and a raft of other minor obstacles. We have to adopt a prevention rather than curse approach to this problem.

"Never before have such resources been put into coaching, promoting and developing our games among young people. We employ sports psychologists, dieticians, statisticians and image analysts at most age groups now in the GAA. Perhaps we should now consider adding a behavioural expert to the list.

"At the moment, most behaviour on pitches at underage level is a reflection of what happens on the big stage imitation of the stars is a huge factor in young players' actions. We must continue to make sporting behaviour a key element of our games, but in tandem with this, we must stringently and publicly ensure that indiscipline, violence, and verbal abuse has no place in hurling and gaelic football.''

*Under the heading of "media", he welcomes Setanta Sports into the realms of live coverage of GAA games, saying their coverage has been "excellent." At the same time, he wonders if the Association is yet ready for "pay for view."

 

Delaney: loopholes used to circumvent rule book

GAA logo

By Jim O’Sullivan
THE GAA must redraft its rule book as a matter of priority if it’s to close off loopholes in the disciplinary process, according to Leinster Council Secretary Michael Delaney.

Writing in his annual report that players have escaped censure for serious incidents because of flaws exposed in the rules, he states that in the past year there were "far more cynical acts of violence" than those witnessed in Omagh two weeks ago. Yet, only some of those were punished.

Mr Delaney, one of the most senior administrators in the Association, also welcomes the decision to "open" Croke Park, having floated the idea as far back as 1991 of the stadium being used for other sports and famously being told he "would have the blood of (Michael) Hogan" on his hands.

While acknowledging that some hold strong views "in the other direction", Mr Delaney says they must concentrate on their core responsibilities.

"Everybody knows what these are and money will not fulfil them all. Any lingering residue of this historic decision has the ability to fester and that would help none of us. There are enough obstacles out there to stifle our progress as an Association without adding to them from within," he says.

Recalling that the council was the first to have a disciplinary decision challenged by the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA), he says the understanding was that it was put in place to prevent members or units resorting to court action "to circumvent the rules."

"Few could have foreseen how things would pan out. Beliefs which we held for years were found to have feet of clay while blatant indiscipline escaped censure because of frailties in our structures,'' he adds.

"The bible by which we have ruled, and have been ruled, now appears to have defects. Some will argue that our rule book is properly called the Official Guide, but surely we need something stronger than guidelines to administer an association like ours.

"There is a new cottage industry development in the underbelly of the GAA, ie, a small group of people who have developed the ability to pick holes in any of our rules. This is a disturbing development and is in no way connected to the DRA.

"The Central Council must immediately take serious steps to put our rules in order. I know that this is being addressed but progress seems to be slow. Until we have this area rectified all attempts at proper administration will be compromised.

"To judge from the recent outbursts of outrage one would think that there was no indiscipline in Gaelic games before February 5th in Omagh. Granted, it was not pretty truth to tell it was downright disgraceful. But, it wasn't new. In fact I would go so far as to say that the year under review contained far more cynical acts of violence than the recent National League game between Dublin and Tyrone. Some were punished, but others were not.'

"Disciplinary committees can only do so much they have vested interests, a 'saw nothing heard nothing' mentality and a raft of other minor obstacles. We have to adopt a prevention rather than curse approach to this problem.

"Never before have such resources been put into coaching, promoting and developing our games among young people. We employ sports psychologists, dieticians, statisticians and image analysts at most age groups now in the GAA. Perhaps we should now consider adding a behavioural expert to the list.

"At the moment, most behaviour on pitches at underage level is a reflection of what happens on the big stage imitation of the stars is a huge factor in young players' actions. We must continue to make sporting behaviour a key element of our games, but in tandem with this, we must stringently and publicly ensure that indiscipline, violence, and verbal abuse has no place in hurling and gaelic football.''

*Under the heading of "media", he welcomes Setanta Sports into the realms of live coverage of GAA games, saying their coverage has been "excellent." At the same time, he wonders if the Association is yet ready for "pay for view."