Ulster GAA secretary wants to change the steps rule in Gaelic football
“In the modern era a player can have taken four steps before you have time to blink."
Ulster GAA Secretary Brian McAvoy has issued concerns about the current four steps rule in Gaelic football, claiming that it is no longer fit for purpose.
The rule of course being that a player can take four steps before he or she has to take a slo or bounce the ball.
McAvoy would welcome the introduction of a time-based approach, rather than physically counting the individual steps of every player.
“Where a rule can’t be enforced it shouldn’t be there,” McAvoy said of the four-step rule.
“Some players move so fast that it would be almost impossible for a referee to count steps in real time, especially when he has so many other matters of which to be mindful.
"A ‘time-based’ approach rather than a ‘steps-based’ approach is obviously the approach.
“I therefore believe that the GAA’s Standing Committee on Playing Rules should consider the issue of steps in Gaelic football with a view to bringing forward a proposal for experimentation in 2022 or 2023.”
“The rule has been in place for many years and in relation to hurling it largely continues to fulfil its purpose. The same, however, cannot be said for football,” the Ulster secretary continued.
“It was introduced in an era when ‘catch and kick’ was the norm and for a player to take even four steps was something of a rarity.
"But the game has evolved – it has changed from a game of ‘catch and kick’ to a possession game and the rule has failed to keep pace with the evolution of the game.
“In the modern era a player can have taken four steps before you have time to blink and if a referee in Gaelic football attempted to implement the rule there would be chaos.
"They therefore, understandably, choose to ignore it. Rarely is a player in possession of the ball penalised for over-carrying.”