The GAA's new system of match bans explained for you
After at least 20 years of people asking for it the GAA have finally introduced match bans rather than time bans. We break it down for you here.
Finally, the farcical situation where a very serious offence could see a player miss just one game, or none at all, has been ended, with a sliding scale of match bans introduced from the National League on.
Here’s the basics;
The most minor of offence, a Category I, doesn’t merit any game bans. It’s defined as when a player is sent off for a second bookable offence but a two-week suspension will be given to repeat offenders.
Category II offences, which get a one-game, or two-game ban for repeat offenders, covers issues such as striking or attempting to strike with arm, elbow, hand or knee, striking or attempting to strike with a hurley, with minimal force, kicking or attempting to kick, with minimal force, behaving in a way which is dangerous to an opponent, spitting at an opponent, contributing to a melee or abusive language towards a referee, umpire or sideline official. That should cover most matches we watch every summer.
Category III offences include, striking or attempting to strike with the head, striking with hurley, either with force or causing injury, attempting to strike with hurley, with force, kicking, either with force or causing injury, attempting to kick, with force, stamping, inflicting injury recklessly or any type of assault on an opposing team official. They get you a two-game ban.
Beyond this level, the system reverts to time bans, which is probably fair as longer match bans could see some players miss over a year out if their county is bounced out of the Championship quickly.
Category IV offences relate to a minor physical interference (e.g. laying a hand on, pushing, pulling or jostling) with a referee, umpire, linesman or sideline official, or aiming threatening language at a match official. They get you a 12-week ban, or 24 if you have some previous.
Category V, striking or attempting to strike, or any type of assault on a referee, umpire, linesman or
sideline official, gets you 48 weeks cooling your heels and if you do it again you get 96 weeks on the sideline.
Hopefully this will clear things up but we foresee a summer of arguments over what category a particular incident falls under. It’s a big step forward but they drama of late-night disciplinary hearings at HQ aren’t behind us yet we suspect.