Tiernan McCann ban would be unlawful — Joe Brolly

Joe Brolly insists the GAA “do not have a leg to stand on” after “unlawfully” proposing Tiernan McCann be slapped with an eight-week ban for feigning injury during Tyrone’s football qualifier win over Monaghan.

The GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) is understood to have cited “misconduct that is considered to have discredited the Association” in proposing the ban.

Brolly, however, says the CCCC are not within their legal right to hand down such a lengthy suspension as the rulebook already caters for a feigning office.

“The lawmaker, which is Congress in this case, has created this specific offence in rule 5 which says ‘to attempt to achieve an advantage by feigning a foul or injury’ and the penalty for that is yellow card,” Brolly told RTÉ’s Game On.

“I think a fair punishment is a minimum eight-week ban, but you can’t dream it up either. It is not a police state, this isn’t North Korea. The GAA has got to comply with the rules.

“I can understand why they want to throw the book at the kid, but it is unlawful. We risk bringing ourselves into disrepute with this.

“The purpose of the law is that the players and the disciplinary bodies are clear as to what the law is. The purpose [of having a rulebook] is that it prevents the lawmaker from abusing his power.

“A High Court in Belfast or Dublin in a judicial review would have no problem striking down this punishment because they’d say this is arbitrary, it has been done simply to punish this individual in circumstances where the punishment prescribed for the specific offence, by the lawmaker, is a yellow card.”

The controversial pundit believes Croke Park, fed up by Tyrone’s cynicism, are attempting to make an example of McCann by proposing he sit out the remainder of the All-Ireland football championship. “There is no doubt the law is going to be revisited because we have reached a stage where teams can no longer be relied on to play the game in the spirit of the Gael.”

Monaghan’s Conor McManus believes referees should be allowed to take advice from video officials to avoid embarrassing incidents like the Tiernan McCann affair after colleague Darren Hughes was controversially red carded.

McManus, the Opel GAA/GPA Player of the Month for July said: “I suppose it’s something that has to be looked at in terms of helping the officials out. The referee is there on his own and probably needs to get more help from the officials around him to deal with that sort of stuff.

“I’m sure when the referee watches that back himself, he’ll know that Darren didn’t deserve to get a red card so why not have something in place that will tell Marty Duffy at the time (what actually happened).

“There’s screens there in the ground, I don’t know if they played the incident back or not but if it did then 80,000 people inside Croke Park would have all known what was done and yet the referee didn’t know.”

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