Inter-county referees who failed this past weekend’s pre-Allianz League fitness tests won’t be considered for selection until after Round 4.
National referees development committee chairman Willie Barrett confirmed those who didn’t make the grade at the examinations in the GAA’s Games Development Centre in Abbotstown will have to sit out on the action until March.
Such a policy has been in place for several years but the exact details of what is required and the penalties for not doing so have been unclear.
Referees must score at least 16.8 in the bleep test involving 20-metre shuttle runs with set intervals of time.
“For the referees it’s a challenge, it’s a tough test, they know what’s in front of them, but at the same time there would be a little niggle about making sure they get over the line,” Barrett told GAA.ie.
“We’ll review it if anyone doesn’t come through it, but you’re not considered for the first four rounds of the National Hurling and Football Leagues.”
Inter-county hurling referee Fergal Horgan articulated how much fitness standards have improved amongst match officials.
“When this started off around 10 years ago the level of fitness was only around 14.5 (in bleep test) and now it’s gone to 17.4 for the Championship so that’s about 20 extra 40m runs so that will tell you that’s 800 metres in the same length of time.”
Meanwhile, David Gough has been appointed to referee Sunday’s Division 1A Round 1 game between Kerry and Tyrone.
The Meath official has drawn a lot of criticism from Kerry in the past, most recently former manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice who last month hit out at his performances in the counties’ 2016 All-Ireland semi-final and ‘17 semi-final replay.