Card concerns as club refs dealt poor hand

An increase in diving and feigning injuries is one of the primary concerns club referees have about the black card, according to the Gaelic Match Officials Association (GMOA).

Earlier this week, the unofficial referees and umpires body asked members their thoughts on the new recommendation.

While the GMOA are concerned the club referee will be “on his own” to enforce the black card whereas there are eight neutral officials at inter-county games.

They also have fears of “further inconsistencies in club refereeing” as dual referees attempt to operate two sets of rules. “There is an advantage rule in football,” points out GMOA secretary Alan Nash, “there is none in hurling and supporters as well as some referees are likely to get mixed up depending on what code they are watching or refereeing at the time.”

Here are excerpts from some of the correspondence the GMOA received from club referees:

nWill county boards not be appointing a fourth official to all club games to help with the administering of blood subs, subs and black cards as happens at all inter county matches? A club referee next March will find himself doing a midweek winter league game with no-one only himself. I would normally get one from each team to act as umpire. So now I’ll have to keep track of the scores, look after the yellow cards, red cards and black cards, keep an eye on the number of subs, blood subs and black card subs, while trying to keep the game flowing as well as checking all the paper work involved with each teams substitutes, who says men can’t multi-task. Will the county boards be issuing me with a PA and PDA as well as a fourth official to implement this at your average club game?

– Cork referee

*Will this not encourage players to dive and try to get their opponent black-carded. If you have a forward travelling at speed and instead of trying to go round the defender he will be looking for the defender to make some form of challenge to prevent the forward from getting past. It’s now likely in some cases forwards will run into the defender and claim they were body checked in order to get a player black carded. – Sligo referee

*What am I supposed to do with a team that turns up with say 17 players in total? If I’ve issued two black cards and I then issue a third and they don’t have a third to bring on they’ll be a man down and supporters will accuse me of ruining the game. My sympathy will be with the small club who don’t have enough players to replace three black cards – Carlow referee

*Can I pick and choose which club matches I do in 2014?

I have no wish to referee at the lower levels as junior footballers will neither understand the new rules or wish to know about them, I can hear it now, “go away ref I’ve been playing this way for the last 20 years. It’s a man’s game” – Leitrim referee

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