Cork GAA: Strict new regulations issued ahead of club championships

Cork GAA: Strict new regulations issued ahead of club championships
Coronavirus sport: A Junior B hurling challenge at Malahide Castle Pitches. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

THE GAA has issued updated regulations for all hurling and football games as the club championships loom at the end of the month.

As the country emerges from lockdown, GAA training has been ramped up and challenge games played. However, in recent days West Cork clubs Ballinascarthy and Argideen Rangers have had to temporarily suspend all GAA activity as a precaution due to players coming in contact with someone who later tested positive for the virus.

The GAA rules limit each panel to 24 and the number of mentors inside the pitch area to five in football and seven in hurling, to allow for two hurley carriers. These include medical officials. This curtails selectors from being on the sidelines, though a Maor Fóirne can be utilised to help the manager deliver messages to players.

Water breaks will take place between the 15th and 20th minutes in each half.

Straight red cards will be shown to players spitting or deliberately coughing at opponents.

The full details of the GAA statement are below. 

"These Regulations have been drawn up by An Lár Choiste Cheannais na gComortaisí and approved by An Coiste Bainistíochta as the basis for County Match Regulations during the Covid-19 Emergency. Counties can add additional regulations if required.

"The Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) is mindful of the GAA Give Respect Get Respect campaign and has drawn up these Regulations for the benefit of all stakeholders – players, referees, team management, officials, media, members and spectators."

Sideline Official/Match Monitor: 

A Sideline Official may be appointed by the Committee-in-Charge and it shall be his duty to report any breaches of these Regulations.

The Committee-in-Charge may also appoint a Match Monitor who shall be responsible for any duties assigned. The Sideline Official shall include in his report any relevant observations or breaches reported to him by the Match Monitor. These will then form part of the Referee’s Report in accordance with Rule 1.6, Rules of Control, T.O. 2020 Cuid II but any errors or omissions in respect of this shall not invalidate the Report as a whole.

The Committee-in-Charge may also impose penalties for breaches of the Regulations brought to its attention by members of the Committee-in-Charge or the Management Committee.

Failure to respect the regulations and follow laid down procedures therein may lead to penalties as defined in General Rule & Section 3 of this document being imposed on individuals, teams, County Committees, or Clubs by the Committees-in-Charge.

1.1 Ground Regulations shall apply to all venues considered suitable for club championships. They shall include procedures for entry to each ground, designated areas for substitutes and Team Officials and shall be communicated to Teams in advance.

1.3 Only a maximum of 24 players (starting 15 and nine-panel members) shall be allowed within the pitch enclosure during the playing of the game.

1.4 A maximum of five (football) and seven (hurling) Team Officials shall be allowed within the pitch Enclosure during the playing of our games. 

It is suggested that these should include:

One Bainisteoir 

One Maor Fóirne 

Two Medics 

One Club Official 

Two Maor Camán (Hurling Only) 

1.5 Each team shall be allocated a side of the pitch in advance of the game by the Committee-in-Charge, where their team officials and panel of players, as per regulations 1.3 & 1.4, shall be positions during the game.

The Team Officials and Players Zone shall be positioned between the two 20m lines and have 14 seats which will be positioned to ensure compliance with Government social distancing guidelines (currently two metres).

Dugouts may be used provided the government guidelines around social distancing are observed.

Where facilities in particular grounds allow for the two teams to be positioned on the same side of the pitch and for social distancing guidelines to be followed, alternative arrangements may be made in advance by the Committee-in-Charge and communicated to the relevant units.

1.6 Where the National Anthem precedes a game, Teams shall stand to attention respectfully facing the flag; helmets must not be worn for Amhrán na bhFiann, for the parade or in team photographs.

1.7 Ball Boys are not permitted.


2.1 The Referee is in overall charge of Game Regulations and shall delegate authority to his Linesmen & Sideline Official; they shall include the Sideline Official/Match Monitor’s report(s) with his match report as appropriate. The Referee has the authority during the game to send any person in breach of these Regulations to the stand/outside the pitch enclosure and such person cannot be replaced.

2.2 All Team Officials in the designated areas must be named on the Official list given to the Referee and may include: Bainisteoir, Maor Fóirne, Medics, Maor Camán (Hurling Only) and Club Official.

2.3 Club Official - Game and Ground regulations apply to all players and officials and adherence to the regulations is the responsibility of the Club Official. The Bainisteoir also shares the responsibility of ensuring that Game Regulations are respected by players and members of team management. They shall also have the responsibility for preparing substitutions slips.

2.4 Bainisteoir - The Bainisteoir shall wear a designated distinctive top and is not permitted to enter the field of play. They may move along the sideline between the two 20m lines as per the “Pitch Layout”. The Bainisteoir may not act in any other capacity (e.g. as Maor Fóirne, etc.).

2.5 Maor Fóirne - The Maor Fóirne (who must be a Selector/Coach) must wear the official approved bib (Yellow or Orange) and may enter the field of play only through the area in front of the team's designated area, and only when the ball has gone out of play following a score, wide or during a stoppage called by the Referee. He shall exit the field at the nearest point and return to his designated area without interfering with play or opposition personnel.

The role of the Maor Fóirne is to deliver messages to players on their team and any disruption to the playing of the game, challenging the authority of the match officials, interference with opposing players, entry onto the field of play not at a time as listed above or breach of match regulations shall result in their removal from the pitch enclosure and they cannot be replaced for the remainder of the game, included Extra Time.

The Maor Fóirne must not be a listed member of the team panel.

2.6 Selectors - Selectors must be positioned outside the pitch enclosure.

2.7 Medics - Two Medical personnel shall be identified on the Official Team list and shall sit in the areas designated in Ground Regulations; they shall wear clear identification and may only enter the field of play to attend to an injured player(s). Selectors/Coaches cannot act as a medic person, without advance approval from the Committee in Charge. Medical personnel while performing their duties are required to wear PPE.

2.8 Water Breaks – One water break will take place between the 15th and 20th minute in each half, which the referee will signal for only when the ball has gone out of play following a score, wide or during a stoppage called by the Referee.

The breaks should last no longer than a minute, with players coming to the area in front of their team zone and drinking from their own clearly marked bottle.

The time taken for the break will be added to the end of each half as part of the additional time. If a venue has a match clock, it should continue during this time.

Players are permitted to position their clearly marked water bottle around the outside of the pitch.

Maor Uisce are not permitted in either Football or Hurling.

2.9 Maor Camán (hurley carriers) – Two Maor Camán who must be over 18 years of age, are permitted per team. Each must wear an official (brown or lilac) and will be situated as per the 'Pitch Layout' on page three of these Regulations, and at least two metres from the sideline.

Official team personnel (selectors/coaches), substitutes, injured players or members of the extended panel may not act as Maor Camán.

Maor Camán are not allowed to carry water into the players and may enter the field of play only with a replacement hurley when necessary.

Any unauthorised entry into the field of play by the Maor Camán or breach of match regulations shall result in their removal from the pitch enclosure and they cannot be replaced for the remainder of the game, included Extra Time.

2.10 Substitutes - Substitutes are not allowed a kick/puck around at half-time. A maximum of three substitutes wearing designated distinctive tops may warm up on sidelines at any one time. A maximum number of 9 substitutes are allowed within the pitch enclosure at any one time. As per rule, there is no limit on the size of a club match day panel.

2.11 Sliotars - Any sliotars not officially approved and displaying the official GAA stamp shall not be used. Breaches shall be brought to the attention of the Referee.

2.12 Late Fielding - A team taking the field late before a game shall be subject to the penalties outlined in Rule 6.44(d)(i), T.O. 2020; a team responsible for a half time interval being exceeded shall be subject to penalties outlined in Rule 6.44(d)(ii)(a), T.O. 2020 and a team responsible for an interval period allowed being exceeded by more than 10 minutes shall be subject to penalties outlined in Rule 6.44(d)(ii)(b), T.O. 2020.

2.13 Distinctive Tops – If not wearing the official bib, the distinctive tops as listed above concerning the Bainisteoir shall not clash with the main colour of either team.

2.14 Matters not provided for – Matters not specifically provided for in these regulations shall be dealt with by the referee and his team of officials on the day, and then by An Lár Choiste Cheannais na gComortaisí when reported via either the Referee, Sideline Official or Match Monitor.

2.15 Extra – Time - Regulations governing the playing of Extra Time are outlined in Rule 2.6, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 & 3.7, Rules of Specification, T.O. 2020 Cuid II.


3.1 Penalties for breaches of Ground/Pitch/Game Regulations shall be at the discretion of the Committee-in-Charge. These may include warnings, fines, the withdrawal of sideline privileges for individuals as outlined in Part 2 of these regulations or suspension of individuals as considered appropriate.

3.2 The Referee has the authority during the game to send any person in breach of these Regulations to the stand/outside the pitch enclosure and such person cannot be replaced.

3.3 Where Maor Camán sideline privileges have been withdrawn the Committee-in-Charge will appoint Maoir Camán on a team’s behalf.

3.4 Where Maor Fóirne privileges have been withdrawn, a replacement may not be permitted; where an individual Maor Fóirne is suspended however, a replacement is permitted to perform this role.

3.5 Where Bainisteoir sideline privileges have been withdrawn the Bainisteoir will be confined to a designated area as decided on by the Committee-in-Charge.

3.6 The frequency and gravity of reported breaches in each game shall be taken into account by the Committee-in-Charge and may lead to next match penalties.

3.7 The provisions of Riail 7.2(c) T.O. 2020 concerning Misconduct at Games by Team Officials shall apply.

3.8 Individuals reported for unauthorised entry on to the field of play may be dealt with under rule 6.44 (e) T.O. 2020.

The following guidelines are issued to Players and Team Officials to reduce risk and maximise personal safety:

No handshakes before or after games 

No spitting or nose-clearing 

Team huddles should only take place where social distancing is observed 

Use hand-sanitisers before and after every match 

Players should use their own clearly marked water bottles 

Interaction with opponents & match officials should be kept to a minimum after the match 

Players & team officials are reminded of the following disciplinary rules during the Covid-19 Emergency...

Note: All suspensions below are the minimum and can be increased by the relevant committee.

Player Spitting at an opponent, team mate or match official is dealt with in Rule 5.20 (Hurling) and Rule 5.18 (Football) – Red Card; Cat III; one-match ban 

Deliberately coughing in the face of an opponent may be considered “behaving in a way which is dangerous to an opponent” (5.17 H; 5.19 F) – Red Card; Cat III; one-match ban 

Challenge the authority of the Referee, Umpire, Linesman or Sideline Official (6.1 H & F) – Yellow Card 

Remonstrate in an aggressive manner with a Match Official (5.13 F) – Black Card (football) 

Threatening or abusive conduct to a Match Official (5.39 H; 5.35 F) – Red Card; Cat V; 12 weeks 

Team Official Any type of physical interference with an Opposing Player or Team Official – Cat IIa; 8 weeks Suspension Abusive language to Match Official - Cat Ia; 4 weeks Suspension 

Threatening or abusive conduct to Match Official – Cat IIIa; 12 weeks Suspension 

Assault on Match Official – Cat IVa; 48 weeks Suspension 

The Referee has the authority during the game to send any person in breach of Match Regulations to the stand/outside the pitch enclosure and such person cannot be replaced.

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