With the GAA football black card now added to the referees arsenal we are going to discuss the implimentation of the new rules and the implications - as we see it for GAA going forward.

First of all some GAA Black Card facts:

GAA Black card offences are:

1 To deliberately pull down an opponent

2 To deliberately trip an opponent with hand, arm or foot

3 To deliberately body collide with an opponent after he has played the ball away or for the purpose of taking him out of the movement of play

4 To use abusive or provocative language or gestures to players

5 To remonstrate in an aggressive manner with a match official.

See the full GAA Black card rules

A GAA statement said that the new black card category was aimed at "reducing deliberate and cynical fouling and also to increase respect towards referees and fellow players".

In addition, after a team has been give three black cards, any further black cards will mean the player going off with no substitution.



Just for the craic lets throw in a little more bureaucracy for the poor man in the middle to deal with – the black card. Are the delegates at congress absolute sheep to be swayed by a couple of video clips!!! Aparently they were showen a completely one sided video analysis of tripping pulling etc which of course no one wants to see in our games - but their answer - another card to administer - please.

It is scary to think what mess lies ahead for the GAA – especially in football in the wake of black cards. Now not only has this wretched creature, the GAA referee, to have eyes in the back of his head, he now has more magic cards than a game of Dungeons and Dragons!!!!

He has to work this all out in a split second.  Which card to show next? Is it a yellow card is it a black card is it even worthy of a red card. How much verbal abuse is worthy of a black card. Is that a trip or just a little bit awkward. When is a mistimed hard tackle a deliberate attempt to stop a player? The only way this will work is that ever imperfect collision is a black card offence. A certain amount of aggression has always been in the games – sure, dare I say it, you have to have a bit of metal and you have to have mental strength to become great.

Yes no one wants to see dragging or tripping but is that not what a yellow card is for?  Is the black card not a cop out by officialdom? We are not tackling the issue of consistency by our referees; we want to simplify situations and scenarios, not complicate them with more obscure rulings. Would it not be more practical to clarify the yellow card offences and impliment these more stringently.

Part of the new rule is a black card for blocking an apponent etc but if a referee sees blocking or tripping he should yellow card the player anyway making a black card redundant. What is happening is that these incidents are happening out of eyesight and a lot of the time behind the play.

If a player is abusive to player or official – yellow card him!!!

Is every jersey pull then ‘an attempt to pull down an opponent’?Is this clearly stated?

Is every competitive entanglement for a ball that ends up a foul a black card? Why not? If I win that ball and he stops me from playing it, he is deliberately slowing my team. And who can say for sure this is not the case?

If I slow up the play by not releasing the ball after over carrying – is this a black card? If not why not? I am stopping my opponents gaining advantage by my actions and deliberately hindering their movement!

Anybody know what will happen with the black book currently flashed at a player when the new card comes in? Is it done away with or will we add an extra pocket on the refs shirt!!!!!

Finally spare a thought for the division 3 club player in all the backwaters of every county, when the black card reaches these crevices of the GAA, where the life blood of the GAA flows and the dna of the association exists, I predict bedlam. I predict referees finding themselves in great difficulty, the brunt of verbal and possibly physical abuse as they now not only have to adjudicate red card offences – perhaps 5 scenarios; and yellow card offences – perhaps 10/12 scenarios; they now have a black card with perhaps 20 or 30 scenarios to police in a consistent manner, all after a hard 8-10 hours days work!!

We predict referees retiring in their droves – well done congress.

For Good Measure

And when congress were handed the opportunity to protect that greatest of football skills – the high catch and decided not to. Any manager of club teams anywhere in the country knows that teams actually target good fielders. They don’t jump with them in any meaningful way, instead they wait till they come down with the ball and then ‘swarm them’ into over carrying or throwing the ball aimlessly out of the contact area.  A mark , from a kick out only, would have ensured clean competition and much fewer scrums around the midfield area, but sure why would we want that, then the referees would have less chance to use their shinny new black cards!!!!


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