Black card rule should be replaced by 13-metre free in front of goal, says Ulster Council CEO

The proposed alternative would effectively result in a score

Lee Keegan receives his black card for a tackle on Diarmuid Connolly in the  All-Ireland final replay.

©INPHO/James Crombie 

The black card sanction should be replaced by the award of a 13-metre free in front of goal, according to Ulster Council CEO Brian McAvoy.

Since its introduction, the black card has been widely criticised within the GAA community, with many claiming that it is difficult to interpret and is putting too much pressure on referees. GAA pundits including Kerry legend Tomás Ó Sé have slammed the rule.

The black card is designed to penalise cynical fouling by sending the offender off for the remainder of the game and a replacement coming on from the bench.

In the 2016 SFC All-Ireland final replay, Dublin defender Jonny Cooper and footballer of the year Lee Keegan were both issued black cards. Both incidents sparked outrage on social media.

Ulster Council CEO Brian McAvoy says now is the time to scrap the black card and replace it with a 13-metre free in a scoreable position.

"That's more appropriate following a 'cynical' foul as it would almost certainly result in the concession of a score. I don't think anyone disputes the fact that there needs to be a form of sanction for what is deemed as 'cynical', he states."

"I believe, however, that the rule as currently drafted creates confusion by the use of the world 'deliberately' in relation to the three black card offences and this is making life difficult for match officials.

"The rule equates 'cynical' fouling and 'deliberate' fouling as if they are one and the same, but they are not. All cynical fouls are deliberate but all deliberate fouls are not cynical. I believe there needs to be change of wording in the rule."

Kieran Shannon of the Irish Examiner made made a similar argument while speaking on a recent edition of the Sunday Paper review.

He said:

"I think there was a rationale for bringing it (black card) in. I don't know if the black card is actually working as well as it could. I'd be in favour of bringing in the orange ball, a halfway house between the yellow and the red card, and punish it on the score sheet. Punish it by maybe bringing it up to maybe the 35 (yard) line and punish it on the scoreboard."