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NFL-Style Challenges, Hurling Sin Bin And Other Congress Playing Rule Motions

NFL-Style Challenges, Hurling Sin Bin And Other Congress Playing Rule Motions
By PJ Browne Updated
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Over 60 motions will be debated at GAA Congress in Croke Park on February 28th and 29th. It is a weekend which will also see the next president of the association elected.

Some significant playing rules motions will be voted on in both football and hurling. Those include the introduction of the black card to hurling; the possibility of removing the four steps rule from both codes; a necessary change to the advance mark; two points for a sideline cut score; manager and captain's challenges to decisions.

Unless otherwise stated, if passed, the rule amendments would be introduced a month after congress meets. This is not a full list of the motions but includes the possible playing rules changes which we found most interesting.

Motion 2 - Manager/team captain challenges

Similar to NFL, team managers and captains would be allowed make challenges to decisions during games.

The motion reads:

That the referee shall, during the course of the game, also have power to consult the Hawk-Eye Score Detector System and/or Match Official on his own volition or following a request from either of the two competing Managers or Team Captains to clarify if any of the team of officials erred in making a decision in relation to the validity or a score or the awarding of a free/sideline ball/wide/45 or 65 or a square infringement. This is to be limited to two failed requests per team per game. Where a request is deemed successful a team retains its right to make a further request. All such requests from Managers or Team Captains must be with the Referee (Captain) Sideline Official (Manager) before the play resumes.

Proposed by Limerick

Motion 3 - Team officials may not enter the field of play

This is a measure which would end the sight of bib-wearing backroom team members making incursions onto the pitch. Their presence on the field has been highlighted as a problem during kick-outs with some occupying open space in an attempt the disrupt a goalkeeper's thought process. It would also cover waterboys and hurley carriers.


The only exception would be: "The Referee may give his permission to a Team Medical Officer or one authorised official to enter the Field of Play to examine an injured player."

Proposed by: Ard Chomhairle/Standing Committee on Playing Rules

Motion 4 - No more four steps


This would affect both football and hurling should it be introduced.

Rather than players being allowed to carry the football or sliotar in the hand for four steps, if passed, this motion would mean they could be "Carried in the hand(s) for a maximum of two seconds".

Referees would instead count the seconds for which a player carries the ball in their hand rather than the number of steps they have taken.


Proposed by Montreal GAA

Referee Maurice Deegan signals a player had overcarried the ball. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Motion 5 - Temporary sub for a head injury


In addition to temporary substitutions being allowed for blood injuries, they would also be permitted for players who leave the pitch for a head injury assessment.

Proposed by St Rynagh's, Offaly

Motion 6 - No pass back to goalkeeper after receiving a kick-out


A player who receives a kick-out would not be allowed pass the ball directly back to his goalkeeper.

If the rule is breached, a free would be awarded.


This could significantly curb one of the more interesting innovations seen in football recenty: Goalkeepers, like Graham Brody for Laois, acting as an additional outfield player.

Proposed by Raheens, Kildare

Motion 7 - Change to the advance mark

An amendment to the recently introduced advance mark rule would mean that a player can be challenged immediately if he decides to play on after taking a mark inside the large or small rectangle.

The current rule could cause chaos in that area as defenders are not allowed to challenge the player for four steps or the time required to take four steps should he choose to play on.

Proposed by Ard Chomhairle/Standing Committee on Playing Rules

Motion 9 - Two points for a sideline cut

Points scored from a sideline cut in hurling would be rewarded with two points. It is a rule which was trialled in the past.

Proposed by Hollywood GAA Club

Motion 13 - Black card/Sin bin for hurling

Football's black card and sin bin could be introduced to hurling. A black card would be shown for five infractions: deliberately pulling down an opponent; deliberately tripping an opponent with the arm, leg or hurley; deliberately colliding with an opponent after the ball has been played or to take them out of a play; remonstrating in an aggressive manner with an official; threatening or using abusive or provocative language towards an opponent or teammate.

As in football, if a player who is already on a yellow card then receives a black card, they would be shown a red card or if a player who has already been shown a black card is subsequently shown a second black card or yellow card, they would also be shown a red card.

Proposed by Ard Chomhairle/Standing Committee on Playing Rules

Motion 15 - Change to the advantage rule

It is proposed that the advantage rule be amended by inserting the following sentence to the rules of hurling and football:

However, if the infraction occurs within scoring distance (e.g. but not exhaustive -within 65m (in Hurling)/45m (in Football)) from the attacking goal, the 'Advantage' shall lie with the free being immediately given unless the Referee considers that there is clear potential of a goal being scored by the team offended by play being allowed to continue.

This motion would be effective from May 9th.

Proposed by Ard Chomhairle/Standing Committee on Playing Rules

Motion 16 - Only designated players and officials may approach the referee to ask questions

This motion would see a major culture change for how players and officials interact with referees during games.

It is proposed that only two players and one official from each team would be allowed address the referee. The designated individuals would wear distinctive armbands.

The players may approach the referee, during a break in play, in a "courteous manner as to a matter of fact such as a free puck/kick, sideline, score, wide or the issuing of a card". The referee would have to give a clear, definite and polite reply when approached.

The team official may only approach the referee before throw-in, at half-time or after the game ends.

A free would be awarded if a player other than those designated approaches the referee.

Proposed by Naomh Éanna, Wexford

See Also: GPA Bites Back At GAA Over Tom Ryan's Annual Report

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