All of the new playing rules passed at Congress last month are now in operation, Croke Park have confirmed.
From last weekend, the 26 players not involved in the throw-in must be behind the 45-metre lines as opposed to the 65m demarcations as was the case previously.
Although the rule doesn’t carry a sanction, the game is not supposed to start or recommence until those but the four contesting the throw-in are out of the extended restricted area. The measure was brought in as a means of cleaning up the set-piece.
Also, a free or sideline cut or kick may be retaken if the referee deems an opposing player has interfered with the goal posts when the ball has been in flight. In general play, a referee can award a score if they believe shaking or any interference of the posts has prevented the score.
The first part of the rule was introduced following last year’s All-Ireland SFC semi-final when Dublin goalkeeper Evan Comerford shook the posts in an attempt to put off Kerry’s Seán O’Shea as he kicked the winning free.
On Congress weekend, Central Council voted to immediately introduce failure to comply with the use of an approved match sliotar a yellow card offence. Just two manufacturers’ balls are currently in play at senior and U20 inter-county level.
With provincial championships just over two weeks away, the referees panels for the championship are to be confirmed later this week. It is anticipated the football group may be larger to accommodate the additional games in the Sam Maguire and Tailteann Cup round-robin stages.
“Things are very tight between the league finals and the first round of the provincial football championships so we have to be prepared,” said the GAA’s national match officials manager Donal Smyth. “The committee will decide the panels and there are a few things to consider with the extra games.
“On some weekends, there will be 16 matches between the Sam Maguire and Tailteann Cups so that will take a lot of resources. It’s very much like the league. Last weekend, we had 33 fixtures.”
The impact of the championship’s intensity on referees is something administrators are considering, Smyth added.
“We have to be careful about how we appoint referees to games. No more than footballers and hurlers, the referees have to take care of themselves because one injury and they could be out for a lot of games.”