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GAA Congress Passes Divisive Proposal For Major Change To Football Championship

GAA Congress Passes Divisive Proposal For Major Change To Football Championship
By PJ Browne Updated

GAA congress has passed motion 4 at Croke Park this morning.

76% voted in favour of the proposal.

Under the proposal, the All-Ireland quarter-finals will become a group stage, what has been called a 'Super 8'.

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 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.

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In the years which follow, Central Council will determine the make-up of the groups.

The proposal proved a divisive one going into congress. The GPA - the players' representative body - outlined five reasons why they would be in opposition.

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.


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