As sure as night follows day, the start of each new GAA season recently has seen the introduction of a new rule for Gaelic Football, either on a trial basis or as a permanent new ruling that players, managers, officials and supporters have to get their heads around.

The biggest one over the last few years was the introduction of the black card and this season has seen another new addition the ‘Mark’ rule. It’s been brought in, the powers that be say, to save the dying art of high fielding, reduce the number of short kick-outs and reward teams who engage is long restarts.

On the surface it is a commendable effort to preserve one of the skills of the game, but in reality there are a number of problems for the new rule.

Firstly the game like so many sports has evolved over the years, this is a natural process that most if not all sports go through and this will continue to happen no matter what rules are introduced.

The advances in training over the years has also seen a new breed of player in terms of physique, speed, strength, endurance, athleticism and skills ability emerge, the change in tactics and playing systems over the years means it’s a much different game played today both on a personnel and tactical level than it was in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

And therein is one of the problems for the football review committee, that is made up of ex-players who haven’t played the game in decades and who have a nostalgic romanticised view of Gaelic Football and how it should be played.

The new ‘Mark’ rule is only a couple of weeks in existence, but already it’s plain to see that it’s not going to bring about a sudden upsurge in the glorious sight of midfielders leaping off the ground like salmon from the Shannon river and plucking a size 5 ball from the skies. It’s also not going to eliminate the short kick-out that seems to be such an eyesore for the committee on playing rules.

So now they are once again looking to change the restart rules to force keepers to kick the ball long. As it stands under Rule 2.7 of the rules of football, all kick-outs whether after a score or a wide be taken from the 13-metre line and that: “If the goalkeeper is not taking the kick-out, he shall stay in the small rectangle, and all other players, except the player taking the kick-out, shall be outside the 20m line and 13m from the ball, until it has been kicked . . . The ball shall travel 13m before being played by another player of the defending team.”

However, Jarlath Burns, chairman of the standing committee, has highlighted the fact that players who receive the ball from a kick out and are standing in the corners are both outside the 20-metre line and 13 metres from the ball. It is because of this that the requirement for the ball to go forward is being considered.

Speaking to the The Irish Times, Burns said: “There is an argument that there is a slip of land on the field where it would be advisable to prohibit a player from receiving a kick-out if you wanted to make the ball go forward.

One of the main reasons that high fielding of long kick-outs is a fading art over the years is the use of over defensive tactics or the ‘Blanket Defence’ by most teams. It made no sense for keepers to kick the ball towards an overly congested midfield area were the chances of winning primary possession were not in their teams favour and even if a midfielder did field the ball when he landed he was normally surround by opposition players and was either dispossessed or penalised for over carrying.

Trying to introduce a rule forcing teams to kick the ball forward will be problematic and may very well meet stiff resistance from many counties. Plus this constant introduction on an almost yearly basis of new rules is not helping the game and is at times although not intentionally making things worse.

Change for Change’s sake does nothing to help the game and introducing over complicated new rules or rules too open to interpretation by officials is damaging the game.

It’s either time for these review committees to leave the game alone and let it go through its natural progression or introduce proper solutions to what they see as problems with the game, ie lack of high fielding and over use of the hand pass, an area which seems to break new records every season in the amount it’s being used by teams, instead of the sticky plaster rules like the ‘Mark’ that seem to be the order of the day.