GAA's decision to not allow Mayo use rainbow-coloured numbers 'abhorrent', says Gough

December 03, 2022

Referee David Gough. ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson.

Top referee David Gough has slammed the GAA’s decision to not allow Mayo’s senior footballers to wear rainbow coloured shirt numbers in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

It was confirmed earlier this week that Mayo GAA has their request to wear the jersey during next year’s Allianz National League campaign turned down by Croke Park officials, who feel that jerseys should be “sacrosanct”, although players are permitted to wear rainbow laces or armbands.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1′s ‘Saturday with Colm Ó Mongáin’, Gough, Gaelic football’s first openly-gay official, gave his thoughts on the decision.

"I think it's an abhorrent decision by the GAA,” said the Meath man.

"I know about the requests in the first place and it was disheartening to wake up to a text message to say that there had been a refusal to allow Mayo to wear rainbow coloured numbers on the back of their jerseys in support of the LGBT community and, in particular, their own partner in charity in Mayo."

"I saw their statement and they said that the playing gear was sacrosanct, and I think was an unwise choice of words.

"I've studied Latin and I understand that sacrosanct means most sacred or holy. Now, I suppose what they're trying to say is that the regard to jerseys is too important or too valuable to be interfered with, but to state that your jerseys might be hallowed by sacred right is a bit strange.

"A precedent has been set before where we've had Dublin in the championship playing against Westmeath with Pieta House on their jerseys. We had Cork wearing jerseys in the National League for Mercy Hospital Foundation, we had Carlow wearing something for suicide awareness and even up in Derry, Joe Brolly's Opt For Life campaign appeared on the jerseys in the championship back in 2013.

"So precedent had been set beforehand and it's just strange to see that they're singling out the LGBT community."

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