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Here's How The GAA's Super 8 Structure Will Work

Here's How The GAA's Super 8 Structure Will Work
By Gavin Cooney Updated

GAA Super 8 is a phrase you're undoubtedly hearing a lot about today, and it will continue to pop up over the next year or so. It was passed by the 2017 iteration of the GAA Congress, and is in place for the next couple of years at least. So how exactly will it work? He's the GAA Super 8: explained.

How does the GAA Super 8 work? 

The GAA Super 8 will apply to the football championship at the quarter-final stage.

In 2018, the first year of a three-year trial period for the new format, the two groups, each comprised of four teams, will look as follows:

Group 1: Munster champions, Connacht champions, Ulster runner-up (or qualifier team that beats them in Round 4), Leinster runner-up (or qualifier team that beats them in round 4)

Group 2: Ulster champions, Leinster champions, Munster runner-up (or qualifier team that beats them in Round 4), Connacht runner-up (or qualifier team that beats them in round 4)

In the new format, each team will have a home game, an away game and a game at Croke Park. The semi-finals will be comprised of the top two teams from each group.

Who brought forward the proposal of the GAA Super 8?

It was proposed by the GAA Director-General, Pauric Duffy. The hope was to condense the Championship, while there is hope that an increased interest in the Championship would be a spin-off, by creating a more exacting pathway to the final and making the competition more attractive to commercial entities and broadcasters.


Edit: A GAA Spokesperson contacted Balls.ie to clarify that at no stage was there any interest in making the competition more attractive to 'commercial entities or broadcasters'.

At the unveiling, then-GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl said that, despite the added games, the reform would condense the Championship:

The strong desire in Central Council was that we would condense, not lengthen, the playing season. And this proposal does condense it. More games yes, but within a condensed time-frame.

How many people voted in favour of the GAA Super 8?

The motion needed a two-thirds majority to pass in Congress and come into effect. It achieved that with something to spare: 76% of the delegates voted in favour of the proposal.

Who opposed the GAA Super 8?

Both the Club Players' Association and, ultimately, the Gaelic Players' Association opposed the introduction of the GAA Super 8.

The CPA were clear in their opposition from the outset, and released the following statement:


Once again we ask, why can these proposals that have been promoted so aggressively and single-mindedly by the GAA not be parked, so that we can get the right solution in place for our players?

We wrote to the President as required under rule 3.35 to formally request the right to speak at Congress on behalf of over 20,000 members. He has replied denying us the opportunity to speak stating it would be inappropriate.

The Uachtarán in doing this has ignored the will of more than 20,000 CPA players. This was not unexpected, it is disappointing, but it doesn’t change our single minded approach in representing all our members.

This isn’t about granting us speaking access. It’s about fixing fixtures. In effect, the proposals will create an elite ‘Super 8′ of counties, and it does nothing for the plight of the club player in those counties. It also does nothing for hurling.

We have called the GAA to take on board other stakeholders’ views. They agree with us on that, as they say they are canvassing county boards for their fixtures issues. Surely common sense must prevail here? It’s about what’s right, not who is right.

Ahead of this weekend’s GAA Congress we are pleading with our county representatives to consider carefully the implications of the championship proposals.

They are already groaning under the financial weight of running county teams. Over €23million at least was spent nationally last year. The proposed Super 8 idea adds more time, more costs and doesn’t help solve the issues of club fixtures.

When the proposal was announced, the GPA broadly welcomed it. In August, the GPA's spokesperson Sean Potts said that "we would broadly and warmly welcome the proposals. And the intervention of the director general is a progressive step. Any attempt to improve the structures has to be welcomed. They changed their stance three days before the Congress vote, however, and released this statement:

1. The lack of sufficient and meaningful consultation with players regarding all aspects of the proposal.

2. The fact that the proposals offer little by way of change for lower ranked counties who are traditionally less successful than those competing at the latter stages of the championship.

3. The motivational impact for players competing at the lower end of the Championship which may be negatively impacted leading to concerns about the longer term sustainability of the football championship.

4. The fact that the proposed format will do little to alleviate the increasing gap between higher and lower ranked counties.

5. The reality that there will be no incentive for provincial winners over other teams who qualify for the quarter-final stage. Provincial winners would now have to play an additional three games in order to reach the semi-final.

See Also: The Angry GAA Player And Media Reaction To GAA Congress Passing 'Super 8' Format


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