Video ref is worth trialling, reckons DRA lawyer Jack Anderson

The use of video evidence during live GAA games is worth trialling, according to outgoing Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) secretary Jack Anderson.
Video ref is worth trialling, reckons DRA lawyer Jack Anderson

The Belfast-based Doon native, who is moving from Queens University to become Professor of Sports Law in the University of Melbourne from July 1, is in the process of handing over the reins to former Offaly hurler Rory Hanniffy who will begin his position on Monday.

As part of a wide-ranging interview in tomorrow’s Irish Examiner, Anderson sees no reason why the GAA can’t at least experiment with the use of video evidence.

“In professional sports, you can see it (the value) because there is so much at stake. But also what strikes me about the GAA is the amount of effort put in by each set of players and management.

“So if you’re there in hurling and, for example, a winning goal is scored after the player catches the ball three times and you lose an All-Ireland as a result. For 30 seconds of a recheck, it’s a big thing. Say it was my own Limerick and we lost out, you would be pretty sore about it.

“The problem with video technology is will it be only in Croke Park, will it be in other stadia? It’s easier for the Premier League as they can instal it. You might say it could come in from the All-Ireland quarter-finals on.”

The GAA’s referees development committee chairman Seán Walsh, as well as a number of leading referees, are in support of either video evidence or TMO (TV match officials) coming into operation. However, GAA director general Páraic Duffy believes it could lead to many stoppages in matches.

But Anderson believes teams should be restricted in contesting referees’ calls.

“If you gave them two shouts to use video technology then that puts the onus on them. So if it goes up on a big screen and is shown to be a bad call by the manager then he is pretty embarrassed by it.

“It would be like in tennis where it can go both ways and there is a certain amount of calls that can be made.

“It’s something to be thought about because the GAA matches now, both football and hurling, are so fast and you’ve only got the one ref so it is something to experiment with even though it won’t solve everything.”

Anderson heralds Hawk-Eye as an example of how technology has been beneficial to the GAA.

“We saw with Bubbles (O’Dwyer) and Tipp and that free in 2014. I grew up on the story of Richie Bennis, whose shot we all know went over the bar!” he laughs, about the winning score in the 1973 Munster final win, the year of Limerick’s last All-Ireland SHC success.

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