ALL-IRELAND SFC final referee David Coldrick last night gave a guarded welcome to plans to improve umpiring standards but expressed reservations about how the system will operate.
GAA chiefs at the weekend backed plans for all umpires to receive revamped specialist training leading to certification and inclusion on an inter-county panel from which league and championship officials will be selected.
The proposed changes will require umpires to undertake tests on the rules and the package of proposals are to be forwarded to the National Referees Committee for implementation by next year’s senior championships.
Coldrick, one of the top whistleblowers in gaelic games, admits referees “wouldn’t be against the scheme but would need to learn more about how it would operate.”
He explained: “I wouldn’t be against such formal training of umpires and I don’t think any of the referees would be. “There is training once a year in the provinces currently for umpires and this will bring more formality to things.
“However, I am not sure how the pool of umpires would work. For example if any of the umpires that work with me at matches receive their certification does that mean they will be able to work with other referees?”
He continued: “The big thing with referees and their umpires is the bond which they have built up over the years of working together. How easy or hard will it be to then replicate that bond and communication with a different referee.
“You start to split these groups up and it is unknown how things will work out. I think that most referees will be keen in the coming weeks to discover the details of all that and how these plans would work. There have been talk about the creation of such pools in the past and a lot of the time referees have been against that for that very reason.
“You as a referee are responsible for your team – if they are not successful then you as a referee are putting yourself in danger as regards future appointments. There were a few high profile incidents in the championship this year but I think it is unfair to blame all of the ills on umpires.”
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