Pat Spillane has expressed sympathy for the burden being placed on club referees in the light of Covid-19 restrictions.

In addition to enforcing the new rules brought in for Gaelic football earlier this year, the man or woman with the whistle must make sure teams are adhering to the new Covid regulations as competitive games resume this weekend.

Policing reduced numbers of officials on the sideline, water breaks and the nasal expulsions of players are among the extra duties added to the often unappreciated reiteor.

"Spare a thought this weekend and next weekend for the club referee," eight-time All-Ireland winner Spillane told the RTÉ GAA podcast.

"Take the fella who arrives for a Junior B championship match. He arrives with no umpire, no linesmen.

"And now this year he also has a new bunch of football rules to contend with - the advanced mark - was it kicked 20 metres? Did he kick it from outside the '45?

"And then you have changes to the kick-out and then there is the sin-bin. He'll be asking himself how long was your man in the sin bin.  

"All that on his own is a minefield. So now, fast forward and he has another raft of regulations this week.

"He'll have to make sure there are only five players on the sideline for football. No team huddle, no spitting, no maor uisce.

Pat views the referee's task as an almost hopeless cause.

"You are into St Jude territory."

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