GAA Defends Referee Rainbow Wristband Ban


The GAA has defended its decision to refuse to allow a referee to wear a rainbow armband, saying it cannot allow its games to be used for “political purposes”.


Referee David Gough told the Marian Finucane show that he was prevented from wearing the rainbow armband at the Tyrone vs Dublin on Saturday night, despite being told initially that the GAA were “completely supportive of his stance” on Friday.

However, on Saturday morning at 7.30am, reports The Irish Times, Gough was told there was “no circumstances” in which he could wear the wristband.

A spokesman for the GAA said that the decision to not allow Gough to wear the wristband was an attempt to be “consistent” about apoliticising its games.

Gaa Ref Wristband
David Gough sporting the wristband outside Croke Park (photo via Irish Independent)

“We are a broad church with lots of different views. For that reason we take an apolitical stance,” the GAA spokesman said. “The GAA is not a vehicle for other people’s political messages. You leave your politics at the door. It is enshrined in our official guide.

“If we had proceeded, there would have been a constituency out there asking why we were allowing this to happen. You are never going to please everybody in this situation.”

Gough said he understood the GAA’s position but it was a “very small gesture” and there had been “no fall out between myself and the powers in the GAA over it”. He said he wore the wristband to highlight homophobia in sport and in support of the marriage equality referendum on May 22.

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