GAA proposes bans of 240 weeks for serious disciplinary offenders

A raft of hard-hitting new proposals has been put forward by the association’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC), Central Hearings Committee (CHC) and Central Appeals Committee (CAC)
GAA proposes bans of 240 weeks for serious disciplinary offenders

OFF: GAA chiefs are proposing a series of 14 new sanctions to crack down on disciplinary issues

The GAA’s disciplinary chiefs have proposed an increase in the maximum ban for an individual to 240 weeks, Examiner Sport can reveal.

The recommendation is among a suite of sterner measures including doubling of a sanction for an unsuccessful hearing that is considered “frivolous or vexatious” and “solely based on procedural or technical arguments”.

The raft of proposals has been put forward by the association’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC), Central Hearings Committee (CHC) and Central Appeals Committee (CAC).

The increase of the maximum ban from 96 weeks to 240 weeks, which is equivalent to four years and seven months, marks a 60% jump and has been prompted by a series of violent incidents including assaults on referees and a number of counties’ successes in querying the GAA’s disciplinary system.

Last month, GAA president Larry McCarthy confirmed a review of infractions was taking place. “Disciplinary committees are very important, that the right punishment is handed down and then it is held, it stands up.

“We need at one level to help referees to write reports which will stand up to scrutiny, but there is a whole clutter of things that we need to do in terms of supporting referees. It’s not just stopping the abuse on the sideline. We do have to strengthen up our processes and procedures to make sure that they feel supported.” 

Central Council meet in Croke Park on Saturday where they will be asked to endorse the proposals set out by the group, which included Derek Kent (CCCC chair), Brian Rennick (CHC chair), Matt Shaw (CAC) and Liam Keane (rules advisory committee). 

If so, they will form motions at Annual Congress in February with the likelihood they would be introduced in time for the start of next year’s All-Ireland senior championships.

Another proposal suggests managers or any team official found to have committed an infraction serve a combination of a time and match-based suspension, which would also seek to prevent them from training the teams as well as withdrawing sideline and stadium entry privileges on match day.

The 14 recommendations are:

- The maximum ban that can be issued to an individual to rise from 96 weeks to 240 weeks.

- Penalties for infractions by team officials previously on a match-ban basis to alter to a combination of a time-based suspension and match bans.

- The minimum penalty available to hearing committee shall be doubled unless the body is satisfied the defending party’s request for a meeting, and their accompanying submission, is “not frivolous or vexatious and is not solely based on procedural or technical arguments”.

- Any type of physical interference by a team official towards an opposing player or team official to be upgraded from a Category III (a) infraction to a Category IV (a) infraction (minor physical interference).

- Team officials who serve suspensions will not be permitted any communication with their team during a time-based suspension and on match day for a match-based suspension.

- Penalties for infractions by team officials at under-age games to be doubled.

- Penalties for secretary and chairperson of club/county etc for breaches of suspensions by team officials.

- A Category VI misconduct charge against a player or Category V (a) misconduct charge by a team official at any level (ie striking or attempting to strike, or any type of assault on, a Referee, Umpire, Linesman or Sideline Official) to be heard by the national Central Hearings Committee.

- Central Council to issue guidelines around the type of clarification that can be sought by the defending party from match officials.

- The hearings committee shall provide a reason if they decide to find an infraction not proven.

- The hearings committee to be given the power to send back a case to the relevant Committee for re-processing.

- The four provincial secretaries to become full members of the CCCC for disciplinary cases.

- Hearings and appeals at central level may be heard by a minimum of three members.

- Defending parties can request either an in-person hearing or an online hearing.

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