GAA anti-bigot vote to take place in city

DELEGATES to the Gaelic Athletic Association’s (GAA) Annual Congress in Londonderry at the end of March will vote on a new anti-sectarian and anti-racist rule that will give the authority power to take action against a much broader range of offences.

The Association will also decide in Londonderry whether or not to open up its grounds for the Rugby World Cup if it is held here in the next couple of decades and they will also vote on whether or not to approve goal line technology to detect points but NOT goals.

The Congress is set to take place in UK City of Culture 2013 between March 22 and March 23, just days before the 400th anniversary of King James’ Royal Charter, which christened the city Londonderry for the first time.

GAA members visting the city from all over Ireland will vote on a motion to give the association authority to take action against “a much broader range of infractions that are contrary to the principles of inclusion and diversity.”

The new anti-sectarian and anti-racism rule, if approved by delegates in Londonderry, will read that: “The Association is Anti-Sectarian and Anti-Racist and committed to the principles of inclusion and diversity at all levels.

“Any conduct by deed, word or gesture of sectarian or racist nature or which is contrary to the principles of inclusion and diversity against a player, official, spectator or anyone else, in the course of activities organised by the Association, shall be deemed to have discredited the Association.”

The GAA will also decide in Londonderry whether or not to open up Croke Park and other grounds for the Rugby World Cup if it’s held in Ireland over the next twenty years.

The Sentinel recently reported how the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) wanted £25k to do a feasibility study on hosting the World Cup in 2023 but that a meeting between the Northern Ireland Sports and Tourism Ministers was recently cancelled until the GAA made its position clear on the use of its grounds.

It now appears that position will become clear when delegates vote in Londonderry whether to give the GAA’s Central Council the power to authorise the use of Croke Park and other stadia in the Rugby World Cup in 2023 or 2027, if either tournament is staged in Ireland.

And not long after FIFA decided to approve the use of goal line technology at the next soccer World Cup in Brazil, GAA delegates will also set debate the matter in Londonderry.

Intriguingly, they will vote on a motion to allow a trial of Hawk-Eye technology. However, any potential Hawk-Eye system will deal with points only, and not with any goal incident.

“For a trial period decided upon by Central Council, a Referee or Umpire may seek and/or obtain clarification that a ball has gone between the posts for a point or outside the posts for a wide or 45m/65m free, from the Hawk-Eye Score Detection System, operating for games played in Croke Park,” Motion 51 reads.

“The Protocols for the operation and use of the System shall be in accordance with the specific provisions determined and authorised by the Central Council,” it continues.

Delegates will also consider allowing extra branding on inter-county shirts; reducing the number of teams competing in the elite Hurling Championship, the Liam MacCarthy Cup; introducing a ‘black card’ for ‘cynical behaviour’ that would allow a player to be sent off but replaced by a substitute; and ordering county teams to give team sheets to the media four days before a senior match.