Managers and referees meet for ‘forthright’ discussion

TOP referees have met with inter-county managers in the first in a series of consultations over interpretation of the football playing rules.

Croke Park was also represented by National Match Officials manager Patrick Doherty.

Referees chairman Mick Curley and Tyrone manager Mickey Harte were among those who took part in what was described as a “forthright” discussion.

Harte said a constructive meeting left everyone involved much more aware of the fact that they all aspire to the same thing – “the best we can give for our national games”.

“Forthright opinions were shared and when delivered with the proper perspective, as was the case, then the foundations for a better pathway towards this much desired, but often elusive, consistent interpretation of the rules of our game, were laid,” said the Red Hand boss.

The understanding, willingness to listen and absence of confrontation embraced by all sides encouraged Harte.

“Before we entered the room, it might have been possible to perceive the exercise as a ‘them and us’ confrontational engagement where the officials from Croke Park would be on the defensive in respect of any challenge to the performance of match officials.

“Refreshingly, this was not the case and the two referees present were calm, reflective and respectful of all the concerns being aired.

“It is all too easy to build up a picture of what another person is thinking and very soon this perception becomes our reality and we envisage all kinds of ulterior motives at play in the minds of those who are approaching a particular set of challenges from a different perspective than ours.”

And Harte is hopeful that, now that a positive line of communication has been opened up, further progress can be made in building a common approach.

“While this time we might not have solved many of the specific problems we addressed, the mutual respect engendered on the night was proof positive that the opening of proper lines of communication will serve us better than constant tinkering with the rules which is often instigated by those who were seldom at, or who have long since left, the coalface.”

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