Opinion: GAA rule changes will slow the game down not speed it up

The proposed rules for the GAA will not have the effect the SCPR think, writes Enda Coll

BY Enda Coll 21:47 Tuesday 27 November 2018, 21:47 27 Nov 2018

How do you speed a game up by limiting the options attacking players have? A simple question which the SCPR and CCCC have failed to account for when passing their motion to trial four new rules. 

Not only do these new rule changes make little sense, trialling them in the league undermines all the work the GAA have done to build the competition up. 

First, we look at the proposal for the sideline kick: Under the new rules, the ball must travel forward. 

There are two key issues with this and both are counter-intuitive to what the GAA are trying to achieve. 

The first issue here is that it is too easy to prevent a player from playing the ball forward from that position - all you have to do is limit the number of passing options he/she has, which rolls into the second problem with this idea.

If the player taking the sideline ball has no options, they are going to twist and turn until they find an option.  

So we are left with a scenario where we have more defenders back and slower restarting times. 

Then we have the proposed hand passing rule; three hand passes and then you must either kick-pass it or shoot. 

From an attacking point of view, the player who receives the ball after the third-hand pass is limited to four options - shoot, kick the ball long, a short kick pass or turn around and kick it backwards. 

The latter two options are the likely choices for any player. 

So now instead of having players running off the shoulder at pace receiving the ball, you will see players slowing the ball down to play a dodgy short kick-pass that even at the most basic level you're told to hand pass. 

Or you will see long kick-passes, just not in the direction you want. 

From a defensive point of view, again, what incentive do you have NOT to pile players back. If anything, it's even more of an incentive to do so. 

And from the referee's point of view, it gives them another job to do in a game which is proving more and more difficult to control. 

The only good that could come out of this change is that it's a backwards way of getting a second referee into the game. 

Although, I'm not even sure a second referee could help keep tabs of the players in the sin bin, in a junior B game between Red Hughs and Pettigo. 

The sin bin isn't the answer to the problem with the black card. The failure to enforce the black card properly is the issue. 

The black card rule is like the yellow card rule for diving in soccer. It seems to be at the whim of the referee's mood whether he chooses to enforce it. 

A better idea may have been to stop teams from playing the ball back over the halfway line when they enter the opposition 45 or give the referees more help on the pitch? 

To give the GAA some credit, some of the changes made in the past have worked out for the better. 

The mark, for example, has helped to bring high fielding back to the game and they have carried this on again with their attempt to bring it into the game more. 

But overall, when 96% of GPA members are concerned by these changes, that should the biggest sign that these rules won't work out. 

Listen back to our discussion with Mike Quirke and Billy Joe Padden on the proposed changes here: 

http://www.offtheball.com/podcasts/Off_The_Ball/GAA_on_Off_The_Ball/66091/GAA_Rule_changes__Will_they_have_the_desired_effect

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