Canavan cautious about new GAA rules

Canavan cautious about new GAA rules

Former Tyrone footballer Peter Canavan believes the introduction of several new rules in GAA will complicate the game, especially for referees, but has welcomed other potential rules 

Several radical rule changes to Gaelic football have been recommended to create more exciting moments in the modern era.

Last week, Jim Gavin's task force proposed several radical rule changes to Gaelic football aimed at making the sport more entertaining. These changes will be trialled starting next weekend. The game, despite having exciting moments, has seen a rise in defensive systems and tactics that slow it down, forcing the GAA to take action.

The proposed changes include:

  1. The Advanced Mark: Players can play on and go for goal after catching the ball. If unsuccessful, the referee can revert to a free kick.
  2. Scoring System: A point from outside a 40-metre arc will be worth two points, and a goal will be worth four points instead of three.
  3. Dissent Penalty: Moving the penalty for dissent from 13 metres to 30 or 50 metres.
  4. Player Positioning: Restricting the number of players inside the 20-metre line to speed up play and reduce defensive congestion.

Former Dublin boss Gavin, along with ex-Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and other notable figures, leads the Football Review Committee (FRC). The Committee has gathered extensive feedback from surveys and meetings with key stakeholders, including provincial councils, county board chairpersons, and referees.

Trial games, dubbed "Sandbox Games," will begin this weekend with teams knocked out of the 2024 Tailteann Cup and will continue into July. The FRC chose the mid-season for these trials, believing the normal winter slot was not best suited for new rule trials.

Additional proposed changes include:

  1. Throw-ins: Games will start with one midfielder from each side contesting the throw-in, with the other midfielder remaining behind their 45-metre lines.
  2. Kickouts: All kickouts are to be taken from either the small rectangle or the 20-metre line, with restarts required to go past the 40-metre arc.
  3. Goalkeeper Restrictions: Goalkeepers can only receive possession in the large rectangle or from beyond their 45-metre or 65-metre line.
  4. Attacking Mark: Adjusted to be called inside the 20-metre line from passes played beyond the 45-metre line.
  5. Tackle Rule: An initial contact with an open hand will be permitted.

Canvan is worried that all of this change may have a negative effect on referees in games

"I think there’s too much on the table for these games," the Tyrone legend told the RTÉ GAA Podcast.

"The only thing I was hoping for when they were coming forward with their proposals was that they’d have two, three or four [rule changes] at the most in order for them to be carried.

"I think there’s too much on the table for these challenge games that will be taking place in the coming weeks.

"There is too much going on and you have to consider the referee. A lot of these rules are making the job of the referee more difficult, and that’s the last thing we need."

Although the rules have been met with lots of flak, Canavan believes that likes of the four points for the goal and two points for outside the 40 [arc] rule would help grow the game.

‘The four points for the goal and two points for outside the 40 [arc] would definitely benefit our game and make it a better spectacle. Dissent moved from 13 metres to 30 or 50 metres would definitely work in our game; it would stop players trying to slow it up and throwing the ball away.

"You’ll think twice now about committing a foul or trying to slow a game down after a free.

"The last one I would look forward to is the three players inside as well. In theory, the ball should be moving much quicker, and there should be less congestion back in opposition defences."

Let's wait and see what happens.