The GAA'S head of national referees Donal Smyth says his team has undergone a rigorous education programme ahead of the implementation of new playing rules.

The new 2021 playing rules will feature in the forthcoming Allianz Leagues and, aside from the usual fitness steps and analysis, Smyth says the group of inter-county referees have had separate briefings, studied video analysis and gone through directives in both codes on a step-by-step basis.

Smyth says that one issue that has been highlighted ahead of the commencement of the leagues this weekend is that some players are not fully aware of all the rules as of yet.

The referees’ chief says that this has been evident during in-house games which match officials themselves have used to get ready for the new campaign.

"Obviously with a lack of game to-date the referees haven’t had the chance to have as many outings with the new rules," Smyth says.

"But they have done all they can.

"We had another fitness test for both codes last Wednesday and Thursday and on Monday and Tuesday night last we went through both hurling and football rules step by step, with a number of videos to study in each.

"We are meeting again tonight with the hurling referees and the following Thursday with the football officials.

"This will help us collate our own procedures in terms of how we do our business and gaining consistency on the field."

Smyth says that while there haven’t been any competitive games as of yet, referees will be doing their best to communicate all decisions to players.

"We haven’t been able to try them out yet, so we are not up to maximum speed yet," he says.

"That’s because of not having games but the issue they (referees) are finding in some in-house matches is when players don’t understand that this or that was an offence.

"Giving out is the nature of the game but referees shouldn't be getting frustrated at that. They now have more tools to deal with that"

"With the goalscoring rule particularly some players didn’t realise the consequences so it’s how you communicate that.

"But we are dealing with top referees, they have talked it out in relation to discussing between themselves and even at the fitness test they were discussing how they implement the rules.

"No doubt when we have hurling starting this weekend there will be incidents but we will constantly get better."

When asked if managers needed to show patience in the coming weeks as the new rules bed down, Smyth says people will have to take responsibility for their behaviour.

"There is a reason why we love the GAA," he says.

"We are all passionate, but a referee can only deal with what he’s done.

"Everyone else responsible for their own behaviour

"Giving out is the nature of the game but referees shouldn’t be getting frustrated at that. They now have more tools to deal with that."