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Trial games with new football rules set for weekend

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The Football Review Committee will present a series of proposed trialled rules later this week following a comprehensive public survey that featured months of research and data collection.

Two points for a ‘point’ from the new 40-metre arc and four points for a goal are the marquee proposals.

And a number of players from counties who are no longer in contention for championship action in 2024 will be asked to participate in new match trialling proposals this week.

The trialled rules will see some of the most radical suggestions that the game has seen start this weekend with teams having exited the Tailteann Cup playing at venues across the country.

The series starts in Mullingar next Saturday and the trials, called ‘Sandbox Games’ will continue in Claremorris, Portlaoise, Armagh and Limerick well into next month.

In the past proposed rule changes usually took place in pre-season or colleges’ football, but the FRC, chaired by Jim Gavin, didn’t believe that winter trials were the best platform for new proposals.

Instead, the sandbox games will start this weekend and incorporate those notable suggestions such as including four-points for a goal.

Otherwise, games will start with a one vs one throw-in with other two midfielders retreating behind their 45-metre lines.

All kick-outs will be taken from the small rectangle and all kick-outs from the 20-metre line will have to go past a new 40-metre arc.

The new rules will have a major impact on goalkeepers

Goalkeepers will only be able to receive possession of the ball in the large rectangle and only if the player playing the ball is also within the large rectangle.

Goalkeepers can also receive possession from a team-mate beyond their 45-metre or 65-metre line.

Interestingly, the FRC will trial both teams keeping three players, including the ’keeper, inside their own 65-metre line.

The attacking mark will be tweaked to be taken inside the 20-metre line with the ball kicked from outside the 45-metre line.

A new definition of the tackle will see the possibility of allowing one initial contact with an open hand.

The advantage rule will not be restricted to five seconds – but the free will be called back once it’s clear no advantage is accruing.

Any incident of dissent will see a free move forward 30 or 50-metres.

Tactical or delaying fouls will see a 30-metre or 50-metre advancement of the ball.

The FRC proposals come after 5,000 survey responses and meetings with key stakeholders.

These included provincial councils, county board chairpersons and referees.

The data collection will continue with focus groups across the provinces and beyond in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, different proposed rules will be trialled at the different venues.

Although only in existence over 100 days, the FRC has already met 19 times.

The end goal is to make “gaelic games will be the most enjoyable amateur games in the world to play and watch.”

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