GAA referees will have to travel alone to officiate club championship games unless their umpires are family members, it has been confirmed.
National referees development chairman Willie Barrett explained it is one of the precautions in place when club games return from July 16.
“The referee will have to go in his own car and his umpires will have to make other arrangements to get there as well. If they are members of his own family they can travel with him.
“In the next couple of weeks, referees will be discussing this with their umpires but the advice is to travel individually or at least two cars for the referee’s group. There could be extra expense involved in doing that, of course.
“Because dressing rooms will be closed for the time being, the referee will have to arrived togged and he will have to go home directly afterwards. There will also have to be a sanitiser for every field.”
The Tipperary native, who took charge of the 1994 and 2000 All-Ireland SHC finals, admitted the shortage of referees in counties is likely to be felt even more keenly with the intense championship schedules from next month.
“That is a major concern. We obviously have to see the fixtures for each county. Big counties like Dublin and Cork will have a lot of games on and we’ll have to see if we have enough referees to facilitate them.
“I have absolutely no doubt that referees will be operating twice on a weekend to get the games played. We have to give consideration to how viable that is. You can’t just expect a referee to officiate in one game, hop in his car and go off to another. That can’t happen anymore.
“Administrators also have to check if referees are willing to referee. There may also be an issue about the more mature umpires who may be reviewing if there are comfortable to do what they had been doing. Everybody has to review their situation whether you’re a player, referee, linesman, or umpire.”
Barrett added that there are no plans as of yet for water breaks to assist maor uisces in ensuring there is no sharing of water bottles.