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Dublin: 0°C Friday 22 January 2021
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New kick-out rule to come into football next month, while 'the sin-bin in hurling is binned'

Football’s back-pass rule will come into force in time for the championship.

GAA president John Horan.
GAA president John Horan.
Image: Tom O'Hanlon/INPHO

THE NEW KICK-out rule, which bans a back-pass to the goalkeeper in football directly after a kick-out, will come into force for this year’s championship.

Central Council made the decision after Congress concluded on Saturday to introduce the rule after the month-long clearance period passes.

It means it will come into effect in early April, even for competitions that have already started such as club leagues. The Allianz Football League will be completed without the rule being imposed.

“The tricky little thing, and we all do it a bit, that’s for every football match,” said director general Tom Ryan. “It’s not just for inter-county matches. 

“So we tossed it around for a few minutes downstairs at Central Council and pretty much everybody at the table had a perspective. ‘Our league has already started’ and ‘Our league is starting in three weeks’ time and has an interregnum of two months and then gets going again.’

“I don’t see it being too revolutionary as a measure in football terms,” he continued.

“That’s why, if we did, we might have looked at the longer period before introducing it but that kind of goes against the democratic spirit of things too.”

Ryan added that the rule needs a bit of tidying up to avoid a situation where a defender would be allowed take a kick-out and receive a back-pass.

President John Horan admitted the 82% vote against hurling’s black card signaled the end of plans to control cynical play in hurling for the foreseeable future. 

“That largely kicks it into touch. We had been approached by the committee to see would I allow it to go back for further consideration, and I said I would if there was any element of support on the floor for the actual move. 

“There was meant to be a bit of support there, but it never materialized so it is very hard to rule a referral for something when nobody on the floor spoke in favour of it, so dare I say it – the sin-bin in hurling is binned.”

David Hassan, chair of the Standing Committee on the Playing Rules, produced data at Congress that revealed 29 ‘take-downs’ took place in last year’s hurling championship and 48% of fouls were premeditated.

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Despite that information, the debate descended into speeches about retaining hurling’s ‘manliness’.

“Personally, I wouldn’t be satisfied with the way it was pushed back by high-profile characters coming out,” said Horan.

“And whereas they’ve never fully denied that cynicism is there in hurling and we know that, see some of the tackles

“But yeah, they railed against it. Unfortunately we can only chair the meeting. I would concur with those concerns.”

The GAA will take another look at disbanding the role of the maor foirne after the motion fell short by 1% of the 60% required for it to come into rule, according to the Dublin native.

Horan also said the GAA will take a look at the scheduling and format of the Allianz Hurling League, which involves playing Division 1 games on eight of nine weekends in the spring. 

For a third straight season, adverse weather conditions at this time of year have forced postponements and climate change means that trend is likely to continue.

“The CCCC will definitely (look at it), they have two years of evidence now and if you go back to the fixture review committee, they left a gap in there and that was probably the one area of dispute between themselves and the CPA.

“Look, we have had two weeks of weather now and our pitches are in great condition, but look at Portlaoise – it just can’t take it.”

Horan stated that the All-Ireland U20 football championship is likely to revert to a summer start in 2021, while he also said the GAA will “be putting a group together between communications, marketing, sponsorship, and media” to properly market the newly-named Tailteann Cup.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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