The GAA are considering bringing in-game punishments for the teams of mentors that abuse referees and match officials. It's certainly a problem which has escalated in recent times, and with a number of physical assaults and abuse towards referees over the past few years, it would be a welcome addition to the game.
GAA president Larry McCarthy has suggested copying Basketball in one of their rules, which would allow referees to penalise and punish teams that managers abuse the match officials.
GAA: Larry McCarthy on implementing new rules ahead of next year
Speaking on Thursday at the launch of "Respect the Referee" which will start next weekend, McCarthy spoke about new measures he wishes to introduce to the GAA.
Larry McCarthy said:
There is another way of looking at it as well,
There could be an instantaneous response to this. Basketball have a very good way of doing things. The coach says something to a referee, all of a sudden the coach gets penalised, the team get penalised with free throws against them and they get lose possession of the ball.
Is there something in there that we could do so that if you start verbally abusing a referee, he stops and gives you a warning? The next time it might be a 21-yard free or a penalty. Not only are you going to get a card for doing what you did, but the team is going to be punished as well. That's something we might look at in terms of implementing a rule and changing the overall culture.
McCarthy also spoke about the need for more support to be given to referees and for counties and clubs not to get off so easily on disciplinary issues in the GAA.
David Coldrick said this to me yesterday, ‘Once I do my job and I report it I then have to leave it go to a certain extent and hand it over to the disciplinary process.’ That’s our responsibility then to make sure that’s strong enough to support the referee, but the referee’s report must be written well to be able to support that as well. There are incidents, not a lot, but some people get off on minute technicalities which drive all of us crazy
With discipline in the GAA being a huge talking point over the course of the 2022 season, everyone involved in the sport knows that improvements and less leniency is needed if we're to get the full enjoyment of the game.
McCarthy's fresh idea in punishing the whole team due to management abuse will likely take some getting used to, but will certainly help in decreasing noise and uncalled for shouts on the sideline.