As the inter county football season kicks off this weekend the introduction of a number of new rules seems at face value to serve to illustrate that a violent foul, or to use the correct term an aggressive foul, to deny an opponent the chance of a match winning goal will pay off.
Basically the black card rule, where if a player, trips, pulls down or body checks an opponent, now results in ten minutes in the sin bin and if it denies that player , not his team, just that player, a goal scoring opportunity inside either the twenty metre line or the semi circular arc a penalty is awarded.
However if you punch or kick, or indeed do anything else to an opponent to stop him finding the net in that part of the pitch you get sent off BUT crucially it is not a penalty just a free kick.
It doesn’t take a giant leap of the imagination to envisage the following scenario.
Mayo are on the verge of exorcising that funeral curse and lead the Dubs by two points in injury time, okay this bit does take a fair stretch of the imagination but bear with us.
Dean Rock is bearing down on goal somewhere between the twenty metre line and the large square with Lee Keegan close by.
Here are Keegan’s options, he can trip Rock, PENALTY and a great chance of a goal
He can pull him down PENALTY and a great chance of a goal.
He can body check him PENALTY and a great chance of a goal
Alternatively he can land a right hook that Conor McGregor would be proud of knock Rock out and while he will be dismissed it is only a THIRTEEN METRE FREE with a packed goal line and a great chance that Keegan will be the free man of Castlebar, Belmullet and even Achill Island.
So the bottom line is that it pays a player to seriously injure an opponent more so than to simply foul him.
How in the name of Sean Óg O’ Ceallacháin can that be right.
Now the advantage rule seemed to be going along nicely, if a player is fouled but continues to progress towards the goal then play away.
Simple enough but somehow the brains trust had to change it.
Now the change to the advantage rule means a referee can only play advantage if he believes the team in possession of the ball have a clear goal-scoring opportunity or another advantage ‘by creating or capitalising on time and space.’
In fairness if someone was given enough time and space they could probably complete a Rubik’s Cube in the middle of a match, but how does an already under pressure referee decide what is enough time and how much is enough space.
And wait, just wait, until a big match is one with a point from an advanced mark, which can we remind you must see the ball travel 20 metres to the player who calls the mark.
You can be as sure as you want that when this happens Sky will produce a gadget to illustrate the ball actually only travelled 19.5 metres.
You doubt they’d do it well think again and this time think VAR for offside in soccer.
To misquote Mr Spock in Star Trek, ‘It’s football Jim but not as we know it.’, and to misquote Robert Zimmerman as well, ‘The rules they are a changing’.