Joe Brolly is scathing again.

This time it’s with the GAA’s rule book.

The rules, he says, are so complex that they have created tyranny for the GAA community. Brolly regularly acts for players and volunteers in complaints and disciplinary matters before the GAA. The particular rules Brolly criticises are:

  1. Player transfer rules
  2. A rule that the Referee's Report is "presumed to be correct in all factual matters” (unless rebutted by unedited video or other compelling evidence).
  3. A rule that requires club officials to identify supporters who might have come onto the pitch or been involved in some sort of incident.

The GAA’s an Treoir Oifigiúil (Official Guide) is not perfect. No rules are. It is convoluted and long winded. But overall quite effective.

Take the referee, for example. A uniquely valued asset to any sports organisation. Surely his or her report deserves extra evidentiary weight at a hearing. Brolly’s criticism shows the difficulty in drafting complaints and disciplinary rules. Someone is always unhappy. That is because sport’s disputes, by nature, are emotive and complex.

All the organisation can do is satisfy itself that its rules are drafted and interpreted with consistency, and that fair procedures are followed. 

Otherwise, there could well be chaos and tyranny.