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Radical Recommendations Made In Bid To Tackle GAA Fixtures Mess

Radical Recommendations Made In Bid To Tackle GAA Fixtures Mess
By Aonghus Ó Maicín
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In a bid to remedy the current congestion of GAA fixtures between club and intercounty teams, a taskforce has announced the Association's most radical proposals to date.

The Fixtures Calendar Review Taskforce have today put forward 32 recommendations as part of a report that would have implications for all the current structures in place throughout the country.

All-Ireland football championship

The report has put forward two formats along with a number of recommendations that would see a more efficient All-Ireland football championship in place during the summer months.

One format would see the four provincial championships consisting of eight teams, split into two groups of four and seeded based on performances in the league. Games would be played in a round-robin format.

A second format would see the leagues, currently played during the spring, moved to the summer with the final positions in the league used to determine those moving into the quarter-finals of the championship. This would mean the provincial championships are moved back to the spring.

The Taskforce has also claimed that windows for club-only fixtures could be interspersed throughout the intercounty season. Moreover, their report suggests that the All-Ireland football and hurling finals be played on consecutive weekends and insists that these formats accommodate a Tier 2 football championship.

All-Ireland hurling championship

While the Taskforce doesn't believe the hurling championship is in need of much tinkering, it has suggested examining the implications of increasing the number of participants in the Munster and Leinster championships from five to six.

Club championships

The aforementioned changes to the football and hurling championships, it is felt, will increase the number of club-only windows to three times what is was during the earlier half of this decade. That means there could be as much as 15 club-only weekends between the months of April and October. It has also suggested that there should be a maximum of 16 teams permitted to compete in senior and intermediate championships.

From a provincial perspective, the Taskforce recommends that the winners of the Galway championship competes in either the Munster or Leinster club championships, as opposed to heading straight into an All-Ireland semi-final.

Underage championships

Among the recommendations that would affect underage structures includes the under-20 championships being played out on an All-Ireland basis and without being preceded by provincial championships, and designating under-17 level as a "developmental" age-grade.


The All-Ireland Post-Primary A and B finals would also finish earlier in the year while the C and D championships would be abolished. The Sigerson and Fitzgibbon competitions would also finish earlier.


The report will now go out to the wider membership of the Association for discussion and debate. In order to enable the suggested structures to replace what is currently in place as seamlessly as possible, a Oversight Unit consisting of four full-time Fixtures Analysts, one in each province, has been proposed to aid counties in laying out their seasons.


The unit would also be responsible for ensuring counties submit fixture plans before the end of every December and for ensuring that teams respect the closed season. This means intercounty teams would be bound not go back to pre-season training before December 1.

A number of motions are now expected to be on the agenda at next February's Annual Congress, with the possibility of more motions being tabled at a Special Congress later in the year.

The GAA believe the changes could be enacted prior to the beginning of the 2021 season.


SEE ALSO: Groups Confirmed For Revamped 2020 All-Ireland Ladies Football Championship

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