The GAA has moved to clarify a number of points with regards to the new football rules which will be on show this weekend for the opening round of the Allianz Football League.

While the advanced mark, kick-out mark, sin-bin and the moving of the kick-out have already been in use in the early season competitions, this weekend will see a much larger audience witness the proposals that passed through special congress in October in action.

The advanced mark and sin-bin have come in for a lot of criticism and the GAA National Match Officials Manager Donal Smyth has moved to clarify some of the finer details.

Mark / Advanced Mark

The referee will blow his whistle to indicate the mark and it is up to the player who has won possession to either raise his hand to indicate he is taking the mark (this was not the case during last year's Allianz League) or can play on.

The player will have 15 seconds to take the kick and opposing players now must retreat 13 metres.

If the mark is for the attacking team inside the 13-metre line, the ball is brought to the 13m line in line where the mark was taken.

Once a mark is called, play cannot continue on and should a player suffer a serious injury in the process of taking the mark, the referee, at his own discretion, will direct the nearest team-mate to take the kick.

A defender may also claim an attacking mark once the ball has travelled at least 20 metres and has been kicked from outside or on the 45-metre line in play.


The sin-bin has become another hot topic. After some confusion over the exact ruling regarding the black card of a goalkeeper, Smyth insisted it is at the discretion of team management how to act.

They can either use a substitute or an outfield player, though the outfield player must wear a distinctive top to indicate he is to avail of the rules applicable to a keeper, ie picking the ball off the ground.

The 10 minutes will only begin once the referee blows his whistle, but again there is room for exploitation given that the clock will run down regardless of other injuries or delays.

"We cannot legislate for what teams do," Smyth responded when asked if the rules governing the sin-bin were robust enough.

"The game has evolved so much in the last 20 years and referees have adapted in that time. Referees will continue to adapt."

A player returning from a sin-bin can only do so when there is a break in play, and with the permission of the referee, which may also lead to tactically keeping hold of possession.

Black cards also carry into extra-time and should a player return to the field before their 10 minutes on the sideline has elapsed they will be shown a yellow card, which on top of the black card results in a red.

A black card following a yellow card also constitutes a dismissal for the remainder of the game including extra-time.