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Head of referees says some players ‘don’t understand’ GAA new rules

gaa hurling

Players have not been fully aware of the new rules during in-house challenge games.

The GAA’s head of national referees Donal Smyth says all inter-county referees have had numerous briefings on the new 2021 GAA rule changes.

Ahead of the Allianz National Leagues kicking off this weekend, all referees have undergone video sessions regarding the new rules, as well as their usual fitness tests.

gaa 2021

2021 Allianz National Leagues.

Many referees have been using challenge games between counties to get used to adopting the changes, but there have been issues with many players not understanding the new rules.

“Obviously with a lack of games to-date the referees haven’t had the chance to have as many outings with the new rules. But they have done all they can,” Smyth told RTE.

“We had another fitness test for both codes last Wednesday and Thursday and on Monday and Tuesday night we went through both hurling and football rules step by step, with a number of videos to study in each.

“We are meeting again tonight with the hurling referees and the following Thursday with the football officials.

“This will help us collate our own procedures in terms of how we do our business and gaining consistency on the field.”

national leagues

Communicating new rules.

The main GAA rule change is the introduction of a penalty for denying a goal-scoring opportunity in both codes. This will result in a black card in football and a new sin-bin in hurling.

While referees haven’t had any competitive games yet, they will try their best to communicate all rules changes during this weekend’s action.

“We haven’t been able to try them out yet, so we are not up to maximum speed yet,” Smyth continued.

“That’s because of not having games but the issue they are finding in some in-house matches is when players don’t understand that this or that was an offence.

“With the goal-scoring rule particularly some players didn’t realise the consequences so it’s how you communicate that.

gaa rule changes

“But we are dealing with top referees, they have talked it out in relation to discussing between themselves and even at the fitness test they were discussing how they implement the rules.

“No doubt when we have hurling starting this weekend there will be incidents but we will constantly get better.”

Smyth on managers’ behaviour.

Smyth wants to see GAA managers and players have patience with referees this season, particularly given all the changes.

“There is a reason why we love the GAA. We are all passionate, but a referee can only deal with what he’s done,” Smyth added.

“Everyone else responsible for their own behaviour. Giving out is the nature of the game but referees shouldn’t be getting frustrated at that.

“They now have more tools to deal with that.”

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