Canavan wants GAA to weigh up risks before introducing TMO to game

Canavan wants GAA to weigh up risks before introducing TMO to game

Former Gaelic footballer, manager and pundit Peter Canavan has claimed that the GAA must learn the lessons from VAR in the English Premier League before it decides to introduce a TMO system to the GAA.

The television match official (TMO) has been in place in rugby union for more than two decades and has also found it's way into the likes of cricket, tennis, and American football.

A similar technology has been used in English football called VAR (video assistant referee), but that has come with numerous problems and been criticised at every turn since it's introduction in football.

Last week, it was reported by RTÉ that a motion to Congress by the GAA was set to be put forward about a number of rule changes in the game

Meetings of An Coiste Bainistochta and Ard Chomhairle took place, and the topic of introducing a "preliminary report on the use of a TMO was also discussed".

The potential system is seen by the GAA as a way to help referees in particular situations where they need help

However, Canavan told RTÉ's League Sunday Show that the GAA should introduce the system properly and avoid the mess that VAR has created in the Premier League

"The GAA would need to be very wary if they are thinking about bringing in the TMO," Canavan told RTÉ's League Sunday Show.

"You see the controversy that VAR has brought to the Premiership, and they are doing it for the right reasons to get the correct decisions, but they have made a mess of the game in trying to do so, much to the frustration of players and supporters. The GAA would need to be very reluctant so that we don’t go down that path.

Last weekend saw the return of the Allianz Football League. It was reported during the week that 13 inter-county football referees failed new pre-season fitness tests at the Irish Sport Campus. Out of 42 referees, only 19 passed the tests, while 10 were unable to participate for various reasons.

Canavan believes that fitness isn't the problem, and it's an understanding of the rules that is a bigger issue at play for many of the officials in the sport. This needs more urgent care, according to the Tyrone legend

"They're an easy target when it comes to ridicule and sarcasm," added Canavan

"This is the last thing that referees need at the very start of a new season. While it is disappointing that so many didn't pass the test, at least there is accountability there. It’s not a wink and a nod, and let me take you away with it.

"It doesn’t look good, but it’s a message to the referees: if you are not up to that standard, you are not going to referee the games.

"We went through different games [from the weekend], and for all the crucial decisions that were made, every referee was no more than 10–12 metres from it.

"Fitness is not a problem; it's the decision-making and the interpretation of the rules and the tackles that's a bigger issue than fitness.

"The referees would say, never mind at club level, let some of the current coaches and managers go through a rules test to see how well they do on it, and they'll see how difficult it is."