Eight months after the on-field scandal, Tipperary GAA secretary Tim Floyd remains annoyed by the suspension handed to Tipperary hurler Jason Forde…
The controversial ‘melee’ between Forde and Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald resulted in Forde initially receiving a two-match ban while Fitzgerald was infamously handed an eight-week ban for his part.
Floyd, writing in his report to the upcoming Tipperary annual convention, described Forde’s role in the incident as ’trivial’ and claimed that Forde was “guilty by association”:
“The player, team manager and county board all agreed we should challenge this charge and we sought a hearing with the Central Hearings Committee (CHC). Indeed
the general public were shocked with the proposed suspension and would have been disappointed if we did not challenge it.
“The two-match suspension would rule Jason out of the league final plus the Munster championship versus Cork which was a harsh sentence for a very trivial incident. Both the referee’s report and the sideline officials report made no mention of Jason Forde but the CCCC in their wisdom deemed it an assault.
“Our argument at the hearing was based on the word assault as the video clip only showed Jason pushing the Wexford manager and we also argued that Jason was being victimised due to the publicity around the incident.
“Most games include this type of “argy-bargy” especially when an incoming sub is being greeted by his opponent so if this was being treated as an offence it opens the door to numerous similar incidents in games.”
“We convinced the CHC as they concluded that jostling and pushing was not deemed an assault and so they decided that the infraction as alleged was not proven. Unfortunately they decided that the evidence did disclose an infraction less serious, that is to say, “to contribute to a melee” for which they were imposing a one-match suspension.
“Meanwhile Jason had played the league final and so would miss the Munster championship game v Cork. Once again we decided to challenge the decision of the CHC and we sought and received a hearing from the Central Appeals Committee (CAC).
“At the appeal, we argued that a melee was never discussed at the hearing and Jason Forde could not have contributed to a melee if there was no melee.
“Once you go to a higher appeal body (The CAC) you are no longer challenging the original substantive issue, but the actual procedures adopted by the Hearings Committee in reaching their decision.
“We questioned the Central Hearings Committee’s right to bring forward a new charge that was not even mentioned at the hearing and argued they were not within their right to conclude that a melee occurred.
“The definition of the word melee also became central to the case. Our dictionaries defined a melee as involving many people or a throng, but the chairman of the CHC in his evidence said they defined it as three or more pushing and shoving and the person who starts a melee is regarded as contributing.
“The Central Appeals Committee upheld the decision of the Central Hearings and we lost the case. We decided against going to the Disputes Resolution Authorities (DRA) as Jason felt it was becoming too much of a distraction before an important championship game and so he served his one-match ban on the sidelines against Cork just two weeks later.
“It’s very frustrating and disappointing to lose a disciplinary hearing especially when you see similar incidents in every game not being investigated. I still believe Jason Forde was just guilty by association in an incident that received wide-scale publicity because of the high profile of one of the personalities involved.
“The definition of a melee as being a minimum of three people involved is still an issue of contention with me and I’m hoping to have it defined in the GAA Official Guide by passing a motion at our Co. Convention to be sent to Congress for consideration.
Please use the form below to submit an article: