Joe Kernan calls for trials of video referee in International Rules series

Joe Kernan wants to see the GAA trial the use of a video referee soon and believes the International Rules is the ideal test case.

As the FA last night experimented with a video assistant referee in the FA Cup third round game between Brighton and Crystal Palace, outgoing Ireland manager Kernan wants to see the burden on referees alleviated.

“Without a doubt,” said Armagh’s 2002 All-Ireland SFC winning boss.

“All of the controversies over the last number of years has been in big matches when everything has been scrutinised. Everything is looked at in forensic detail, the mistakes made by the players, the managers, and obviously the referees, too.

“The GAA might say they can’t implement a video referee at grassroots but controversies don’t happen as much there as they do in the big games when there is more pressure on everybody and the stakes are higher.

“We all want to make it better and a video referee would ensure there would be no hiding place for anybody. If a genuine mistake is made, it can be rectified. 

“There was a time when referees weren’t accountable but now it’s case of there being too much expected of them. It’s almost impractical to expect a referee to ref a match now. He should be able to enjoy the experience.”

GAA director general Páraic Duffy is against the idea of a video referee, believing the consultation would slow the game down, while president Aogán Farrell has claimed there is no appetite in the GAA for such an initiative.

However, Kernan says there is no reason why a TV match official would impact on the pace of play. “It wouldn’t slow it down. By the time a referee walks into an umpire, the video referee could have watched the incident back and advised the referee.

“You don’t have to show the whole public — it can be done in a subtler way — but the end result is the same and that’s getting the call right, which is most important.”

Kernan stepped down as International Rules coach following the recent series in Australia and sees the hybrid game as the perfect situation to judge how a TMO would operate. Even though the game boasts two referees, Kernan was critical of some of the officiating in Perth in November. An independent video referee was also involved but his brief was confined to suspensions.

“A simple thing, we could trial it in the International Rules. Have an eye in the sky who would help ensure that the right decisions are being made. There would be no harm in that. The referees have their backs covered. Gaelic football, the game, has speeded up and everything else has too and yet we have brought in the black card, which has put pressure on referees.

“The time has come to help them out more.”


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