Referee David Gough is unhappy with the GAA's decision to prevent Mayo GAA wearing rainbow coloured shirt numbers in support of the LGBTIQA+ community.

Mayo had requested to wear rainbow coloured shirt numbers during their Allianz National League campaign after a suggestion from their charity partner Mindspace Mayo, who encouraged the move as a show of support for the LGBTIQA+ community.

Speaking to Saturday with Colm Ó Mongáin, Gough said: "I think it's an abhorrent decision by the GAA."

"I know about the requests in the first place and it was disheartening to wake up to a text message to say that there had been a refusal to allow Mayo to wear rainbow coloured numbers on the back of their jerseys in support of the LGBT community and, in particular, their own partner in charity in Mayo."

"I saw their statement and they said that the playing gear was sacrosanct, and I think was an unwise choice of words.

"I've studied Latin and I understand that sacrosanct means most sacred or holy. Now, I suppose what they're trying to say is that the regard to jerseys is too important or too valuable to be interfered with, but to state that your jerseys might be hallowed by sacred right is a bit strange.

"A precedent has been set before where we've had Dublin in the championship playing against Westmeath with Pieta House on their jerseys. We had Cork wearing jerseys in the National League for Mercy Hospital Foundation, we had Carlow wearing something for suicide awareness and even up in Derry, Joe Brolly's Opt For Life campaign appeared on the jerseys in the championship back in 2013.

"So precedent had been set beforehand and it's just strange to see that they're singling out the LGBT community."

Paul Flynn wearing a jersey in support of Pieta House

Previously Mayo wore rainbow laces for the All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary in 2020, and in 2023 they wanted to go one step further.

Gough believes that the GAA would be backed by their myriad of sponsors.

"Well speaking about sponsors, our national competitions are sponsored by eir, AIB, SuperValu, Bord Gáis, Centra, and a lot of those organisations take part heavily in Dublin pride and pride events around the country.

"In fact, AIB and Bord Gáis are two of the greatest supporters of pride within Dublin and I've been part of the most recent SuperValu campaign. So it will be interesting to see how the sponsors take this ban.

"Bord Gáis have already gone rainbow inside Croke Park on their sponsorship boards and we don't see any issue around that. I would fear that if Mayo did this, that there would be a backlash.

"I suppose it would be remiss of me not to have looked up the rules in relation to this and when I looked up what the GAA's rules are in relation to sponsors, brands and distinctive marks and logos, they can disqualify the team from the competition if the logo has not been sanctioned.

"There can be loss of expenses for players or individuals, and not less than 24 weeks or expulsion from the association for wearing them for individual players. Now I find that very hard to take."

Referee David Gough wearing Pride laces on his boots

A GAA statement read that the main reasoning behind the decision was that the numbers would be hard to make out from distance.

"I think that's a ridiculous comment to make. We have already seen Ireland and the FAI wearing them in the Aviva at a match of an international sporting governing body against the USA.

"The rainbow flags might have been seen outside the stadium or around, or in the vicinity of the stadium. But they have never been seen inside the stadium."

"It is not a political movement. It is a community based in human rights movement.

"It might push and lobby politicians for advancements within the LGBT community, but it is not a political party per se. I know when I tried to wear the wristband in 2015, I tied that attempt to a political statement by saying that I was calling for a yes vote in the marriage equality referendum.

"But this attempt by Mayo to support a charity of their choice who have said they want to promote LGBT issues is not a political statement. And it's nothing to do with politics whatsoever."

Dónal Óg Cusack was the most high profile male GAA player to come out as gay, when he did so 13 years ago.

"This country is totally accepting of gay men and gay men within sport and we've proven that and it shouldn't be a case that we need people to come out. Although role models within the sport will be fantastic for younger people," Gough added.