GAA rules can be a nightmare at the best of times. With the constant tweaking over recent years, it’s tough for referees to remember, let alone supporters.
David Gough, speaking to Tackling Sport, believes that there should be a radical overhaul of the rulebook.
“The rules definitely need to be changed. I have spoken to GAA Congress about this.”
“There are close to 110 rules, technical and aggressive, to remember. About 43 aggressive fouls – if you were to list them out, 5 noting, 4 yellow card, 5 black card and 18 red card offences.”
“And you’ve to remember the language of each of those rules, inside out, to make sure that what you see in front of you is exactly what’s written in the rulebook.”
The sheer amount of rules has always been a problem for the GAA but is there any solution?
“I’m a long-time advocate of getting rid of all the rules, every single one of them. Leave it down to three/four rules. Yellow card – rough play, black card – cynical play and red card – dangerous play. Let the referees decide which one of these categories that fits into”
David is often left frustrated by the current rulebook and remembers one such incident last year.
“I had to send off Peter Harte for a black card, in the opening round of the Ulster Championship last year. Now it was a trip. Was it cynical? No it wasn’t. It was bad tackling technique but the rule doesn’t allow me to say, well that’s not a black card.”
He continued, “I had no choice but to give him a black card and I think if they removed the very descriptive language that tells you exactly what it has to be, and left it open to interpretation for the referees, it would be easier.”
While having reservations at the start, David believes that any mistakes would soon be ironed out. He said, “It might lead to inconsistency at the beginning but that would be tidied up very quickly.”
It seems a very simple and effective solution and one you feel both referees and supporters would get behind.
Do you know all 110 technical and aggressive fouls? Link to rules below.
David was speaking on the Tackling Sport Podcast. The interview is out Monday morning on all your favourite platforms.