Leinster referees’ secretary John Bannon predicts inter-county football teams, particularly the leading ones, will do everything in their power to run down the sin bin clock.
The standing playing rules committee maintain there was little or no examples of counties temporarily down to 14 men cynically running down the 10 minutes during the sin bin’s trial phase in this year’s National Football League.
However, plenty of anecdotal evidence exists of teams doing as much as the 10 minutes does not take into consideration any delays. Bannon believes it is a glaring error in the new sin bin rule, which comes into force in all competitions that start from the middle of next month.
“I was never a fan of the black card because it was a killer against weaker teams who could lose potentially their best player and would be replaced by somebody who wouldn’t be nearly as good as him so it was no penalty to stronger teams who were often trading like for like.
“Teams are gone so technical on playing down the clock and wasting time, the successful teams. They’ve been doing so for most of this decade and Dublin are experts at keeping possession.
Bannon, who took charge of the 1998 and 2002 All-Ireland finals, also feels the advanced mark will be taxing on referees when they are already struggling to determine that a free/goal kick has to travel 13m.
The advanced mark can be awarded to a player of either team providing they have caught the ball cleanly inside the 45m line from a kick 20m or more committed outside the 45m line from open play.
“The 20m is a massive issue,” says the Longford native. “I’d say 50% of the frees in Gaelic football don’t go the minimum 13m as it is so this is going to be a problem. It will be a difficult thing to define and the problem here is it can lead to goalscoring opportunities. If the kick is 15m and the referee awards the mark and it wins a county final or an All-Ireland final, there’ll be uproar.
“If you look at this year’s All-Ireland final or any other game, I guarantee you will find at least 10 examples of the free kick not travelling 13m.”
As Limerick are set to put forward proposals to introduce video technology to assist referees, Bannon welcomes any measures that support match officials but wonders about the financial and personnel cost attached to it.
“I don’t know how workable it will be. I have had a slight doubt in my head about HawkEye going back to the start because it was going to be brought in for Croke Park. Now it’s in a limited number of stadia - Croke Park and Semple Stadium - but HawkEye is now accepted even though some people at times would still question its workings and settings.
“Anything that helps the referee gets the decision right is fine and the TMO might go into Croke Park, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and Thurles but will it go into Pearse Park or O’Connor Park? We’re struggling to get match officials as it is to cover games - the four umpires, the referee, the linesmen and the fourth official.
"So if you’re looking to bring in TV it will need one or two more officials and then the technical people and all of a sudden you could have a massive cost financially and in terms of people. I’m not against technology but the reality is the cost could be prohibitive.”