Sideline cut as GAA approves reduction in non-playing numbers

Ard Comhairle confirmed new regulations which will only allow a maximum of five backroom staff on the lines at inter-county matches next season.

GAA President Liam O'Neill: pledged to tackle touchline violence.
GAA President Liam O'Neill: pledged to tackle touchline violence.
Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

A MAXIMUM OF five backroom staff will be allowed on the sidelines during inter-county GAA matches next season.

The dramatic reduction in non-playing personnel, down from 12, was approved by Ard Comhairle on Saturday as part of a bid to tackle the number of violent flashpoints at games.

Under the new regulations, which will be introduced in the 2013 National Leagues and All-Ireland Championships, the only people permitted will be the team manager, maor foirne, a medic and two water/hurley carriers.

Previously, teams were allowed to have two County Board officials on the line as well four selectors (including the manager and maor foirne), two medics and four water/hurley carriers.

It was thought that number would be cut to eight, but the GAA has taken a stronger stance in line with President Liam O’Neill’s pledge to rid the game of the touchline altercations which have blighted it.

It remains to be seen how the Association will tackle incidents at club level, where any similar restrictions would be much harder to police.

Ard Comhairle also approved a proposal to keep the existing six-team structure in Divisions 1A and 1B of the National Hurling League and re-introduce quarter-finals for the top four teams in each group.

The move, which will apply from the 2014 season onwards, is a blow to those who lobbied for a move back to a single top tier of eight counties.

A decision on different proposals for a revamp of the hurling championship was deferred until the next Central Council meeting in January.

The GAA also extended its sympathies to the family of the late Páidí Ó Sé, who died in his Ventry home at the age of 57, and acknowledged his “massive contribution” as both player and manager.

The BBC pays its tribute to Páidí Ó Sé

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Niall Kelly

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