GAA rules will show racists the red card
2014-03-01 18:39:38 -

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has changed its rule book to protect ethnic minority players against racism in Gaelic games, Metro Éireann has learned.

This rule amendment, which was passed at a recent GAA annual congress, “gives the referee the power to send a player who uses racist or sectarian language off,” the GAA said in a statement, which added that “the rule as it stands doesn’t explicitly state that such abusive language is a sending off offence.”
The landscape of Gaelic games has been marred in recent years by reports of ethnic minority players being subjected to racist slurs by their Irish counterparts.

Last April, Kerry GAA officials were asked to investigate claims a player from the Travelling community was subjected to racial abuse at a club match.

Previously, Wexford GAA star Lee Chin was forced to go public after being hurled with racist abuse by two Duffry Rovers footballers in Wexford.

Although the abusive were suspended after being found guilty, a number of others alleged to be involved were not sanctioned.
Anti-racism groups have nonetheless welcomed the GAA’s rule change as a positive move.
Ken McCue, Sport Against Racism in Ireland’s (Sari) delegate to the GAA inclusion, diversity and integration committee, told Metro Éireann it constitutes “a major step forward for the GAA and is part of a long-term strategy designed to create a model for all national governing bodies of sport.

“Household names in Gaelic games like Jason Sherlock, Sean Óg Ó hAilpín and Lee Chin along with emerging talents Aaron Cunningham and Teboga Sebala have all been victims of racist abuse on and off the field of play,” said McCue.
“Even Cork hurling hero Donal Óg Cusack has been the target for homophobes, while Darren Graham of Fermanagh has suffered from vile sectarianism in the past.

“Now, members of the GAA family at home and abroad will have their human rights protected,” he added.
The Sari international officer said the new rule “reflects the measures of the European Commission White Paper on Sport and will lead on to the insertion of an equality, diversity and anti-discrimination clause in the Constitution of the association that will cover the whole family of Gaelic games and Scór [Irish cultural events] competitions.
 “This is a comprehensive rule that covers all forms of discrimination including homophobia, the first cousin of racism and sectarianism.”
McCue emphasised that the rule change “is backed up by the addition of a Sari-designed ‘Embrace Diversity’ training programme for game officials.”

In addition, he urged the Minister for Sport Leo Varadkar to make the constitutional changes a condition for the receipt of sports capital grants going forward.

Meanwhile, the GAA’s move has also been welcomed by Show Racism the Red Card, whose co-ordinator Garrett Mullan said: “It is clear that racism has no place within the games.”

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