GAA director general Páraic Duffy has taken an opposing stance to referees on the use of live video replays being used in games.
Last December, a seminar of national referees endorsed the introduction of TV match officials to assist them in making contentious decisions. However, a number of Croke Park officials are known to be against the idea, and Duffy has thrown his weight behind the case against technology.
“I heard this being argued, I think by Joe Brolly last weekend. I watch an awful lot of sport, I watch rugby and American football. They go back to these people to check angles and where does it end? This was a penalty incident — do you show videos again for other fouls further out the field, do you do it in sendings off? Where does it end?
“I think it would completely and totally distort the game. I think that would be an absolutely extreme solution and I wouldn’t favour that. In this case it’s being advocated around a (Aidan O’Shea) penalty, do you advocate it around a sending-off, is it a black card or is it not, is it a red or a yellow, is it inside the box or outside the box if it’s a foul? Where does it end?
“Our games are games that flow, they are not stop-start games. I personally wouldn’t be in favour of that.”
Nor is Duffy in favour of teams being given a set number of challenges of a referee’s decisions.
Referring again to the controversial Aidan O’Shea penalty decision in last Saturday’s Mayo-Fermanagh qualifier, he said: “Joe McQuillan at the time gave a signal for a tug of the jersey. Even watching it after all the replays, it didn’t conclusively answer that question because you could not see what the player’s left hand was doing. So even in this case that would not have fully resolved that issue.
“I just don’t think it’s worth it, I don’t think we should go that way. I think you have to accept the fact there will be controversies and mistakes from time to time and that’s what you buy into.”
On the subject of diving, Duffy claimed it isn’t part of the culture in Gaelic games. Although the playing rules committee are looking at upgrading categories simulation from a yellow card to sterner punishments, he said: “I think, in fairness, I suppose in soccer, in particular, it is almost accepted as part of the game. I don’t think it is accepted as part of our games and people don’t want to see that. I don’t think there is a huge problem but I do accept there are incidents from time to time.”
Duffy’s own Monaghan last weekend became the latest team to suffer from a short turnaround from a provincial defeat to their qualifier. In their case, a replay caused the seven-day break between the two games. In February, Duffy’s proposal to end championship replays apart from provincial and All-Ireland finals received majority support but not the required two-thirds.
All indications are a variation of the proposal will be on the clár next year. “I don’t want to be seen to make any excuses for Monaghan — Longford won the game fair and square, they were very good — but I think it (the seven-day turnaround) was a factor in Monaghan’s defeat.
“The problem was it was a replay. My views on replays are well-known. I think they make fixture-making very difficult. I just feel if we are going to address this whole fixtures issue we’ll have to revisit this. It is something we’ll deal with at the end of summer again, I’m sure. I’m sure the Connacht and Ulster Councils will say thank God for replays because financially they’re good. Personally, the financial reason is the only reason you can give. In terms of players, equity, rest, and the fixtures programme, I think they (replays) are a problem.”
Duffy is “disappointed” at some of the commentary about players and managers. “I think sometimes it is over the top. I think it’s something we should be very aware of and I don’t think people in GAA welcome that. They like analytical commentary. They don’t particularly welcome personalised commentary and I don’t think it’s something people in the GAA want.”
Páraic Duffy was speaking at the announcement the GAA are to receive €2.4m towards grassroots development from Sport Ireland. Duffy said the number of children attending this year’s Cúl Camps is set to hit 120,000.
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