Debate on Sky TV deal still off table at GAA Congress

Motion affecting potential ‘home’ Super 8s game for Dublin in Croke Park likely to make clár

Dublin may not be able to host their ‘home’ Super 8s game in Croke Park if a motion from Donegal succeeds at Congress. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dublin may not be able to host their ‘home’ Super 8s game in Croke Park if a motion from Donegal succeeds at Congress. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

No revisiting of the GAA’s controversial subscription-based TV rights deal, but the motion seeking to prevent any county from playing two games at Croke Park during the Super-8s is set to make the Congress clár next month.

While not necessarily aimed directly at Dublin, Donegal have tabled a motion that prevents any county from designating Croke Park as a ‘home’ venue in the Super 8s football stage, such as Dublin did last year, meaning they were guaranteed two games in GAA headquarters.

All motions destined for Congress must first go before rules advisory committee for further scrutiny; motions can also deemed ineligible if they don’t address a particular rule change.

If the Donegal motion is passed at Congress, and Dublin reach the Super 8s as expected, they will either have to play their ‘home’ game in Parnell Park or a larger neutral venue of their choice other than Croke Park.

“We still have to wait until we get all the motions back from the rules advisory committee,” said Alan Milton, GAA’s director of communications.

“The various committees will find out whether their motions are in order or not. And if it happens that they’re not in order, the committee may try work with the unit to put them in order. Sometimes that’s not always possible, in that they didn’t impact on rule, and involve a policy instead.

“But the committee will usually try to work with that unit to help put them in order, or else they may make a judgement that they don’t involve any rule change. It is the intention of that unit i.e. the Donegal, club, to have that motion on the clár, but that hasn’t been signed off as yet. That’s all expected by Tuesday of next week.”

What is certain is that any debate over the GAA’s controversial subscription-based TV rights, namely with Sky, won’t be revisited again until 2020 Congress, if so desired, after three motions last year failed to make it onto the clár.

Five years

Three counties (Clare, Leitrim and Roscommon) had approved motions opposing subscription-based TV rights, each effectively stemming from the GAA deal with Sky Sports, first agreed in 2014 – then extended for another five years last year, through to 2021.  

All, however, were ruled out on the basis they essentially mirrored a 2016 motion, tabled by the St Joseph’s Boys club in Dublin; that motion was firmly defeated (15-85) and as it failed to receive one-third backing, a similar motion may not be permitted on the clár in the subsequent three years “unless the management committee allows it in exceptional circumstances”.

“That three-year moratorium still applies,” said Milton, “but anecdotally, and to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t heard of any county expressing an interest in submitting one, and that may be because they’re aware of that moratorium. It means it will be 2020 before any such motion could be tabled again, if that’s the case.”

Next year, 2020, will also allow for playing rule changes to be tabled, as in years divisible by five, other than those that come from the playing rules committee.

Also set to go before Congress, set for Wexford on February 22nd/23rd, is a motion from the St Ita’s club in Cork seeking to revert to the old system of drawn All-Ireland senior semi-finals going to replays when level after 70 minutes – rather than extra-time. This was passed at the Cork convention in December.

Last year, Cork lost out to Limerick at the All-Ireland stage after 90 minutes of hurling, while Galway and Clare also drew in their semi-final, again the game still level after extra-time, which then necessitated a replay in Thurles, which Galway won. 

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