The GAA has moved to clarify details of the new 'mark' rule before its official introduction to Gaelic football on 1 January.

The measure, which was passed at Congress in February with 68% support, aims to reward the skill of high fielding, and is similar to that in the International Rules series, though it only applies to catches made from kick-outs.

From New Year's Day, a player from either side who catches the ball cleanly from a kick-out on or past the 45-metre line will now have the option of calling a mark and taking a free-kick, or playing on immediately.

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The new rule was trialled during the Higher Education GAA Senior Football League in October and November, and Central Council today issued several clarifications, including: Both feet of the catcher must come down on or past the 45m line, the catcher will indicate that they wish to take a mark rather than play on by clearly stopping, and that kicking a mark to a team-mate who is too close (less than 13m away) will mean conceding a free-kick to the opposition.

They also confirmed that a player may touch the ball more than once in the act of controlling it and completing a mark (above video) but it must not have been touched by another player (below video).

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The GAA, which also launched a new referee's handbook aimed at "explaining and simplifying" rules for officials, announced a plan to train all referees on the use of the mark in December.

Inter-county referees will be available to give presentations to county panels and clubs still involved in provincial and All-Ireland competition.

President Aogán Ó Fearghail said: "The education plan in relation to the mark is ambitious but I am very confident that referees, players and officials at all levels will be prepared for its implementation come 1 January."

THE MARK - KEY QUESTIONS

How does the referee award a mark?
The referee awards a mark by blowing the whistle.

To be awarded a mark does the catch have to be from a kick-out from the player’s own team? No, a mark shall be awarded if the catch is from a kick-out from either team.

Is a mark awarded for a catch from a kick-out no matter where it takes place?
No, a mark shall be awarded if the catch is made on or outside the 45m line from a kick-out from either team.
How does the player who is awarded the mark signal to the referee that he is availing of the free-kick?
In order to signify that he wishes to take a free-kick, the player who catches the ball and has been awarded the mark by the referee should stop playing. If he does not obviously stop then it should be taken that he is “playing on”.

Can the player who is awarded the mark score directly from the free-kick?
Yes.

If the player awarded the mark is injured in the process what is the award?
Any team mate may take the free-kick from the hands, but he may not score directly from the kick.

If a player decides to play on when can he be tackled?
Once the player plays on he may be tackled after four steps or once he plays the ball in any way.

How long does the player awarded the mark have to take the free-kick?
He shall not delay longer than five seconds.

If the player awarded the mark delays the taking of the free-kick by more than five seconds, what is the award?
The mark and free-kick shall be cancelled and a throw-in between one player from each side is awarded.

How far do players have to be from the free kick?
All players (team-mates and opponents) must be 13m from the free-kick.

If the player who has been awarded the mark chooses to take a free-kick and a player from the opposing team blocks or attempts to block that kick within 13m or interferes with the player who has chosen to take the kick, what is the award?
A free-kick 13m more advantageous shall be awarded.

What happens if a team mate plays the ball within 13m of the free kick awarded for the mark?
A free-kick is awarded to the opposition (below video).

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What is the award if a player, who is taking the free-kick following an injury to a team mate, scores directly from the kick?
A free-kick is awarded to the opposition from the point at which the original free kick was taken.

When the player awarded the mark decides to play on, when may he be tackled?
He may be tackled after he takes four steps or once he plays the ball in any way.

What is the award if a player who has chosen to play on is illegally challenged?
A free-kick shall be awarded at the point at which the illegal challenge is made.