GAA opens county grounds to other sports
Congress passes motion to allow use of grounds in ‘exceptional circumstances’
The origins of today’s decision lie in the controversy caused by the Liam Miller Tribute last September, which was eventually held in Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
GAA Congress has voted to allow county venues to be used by other sports. Motion 19, debated in by annual congress in Wexford on Saturday, gives the association’s Central Council the power “in exceptional circumstances” to authorise use of GAA property for “activities other than those controlled by the association”.
Any decision to make such an authorisation must be in compliance with GAA policy on the matter. GAA director general Tom Ryan addressed congress to say that the pillars of such policy would be as follows:
1) Only applies to county grounds
2) Application must be made by national governing body of sport in question
3) It should be an event of national significance
4) It must in furtherance of GAA aims
This constitutes the first major extension of the rule governing the use of GAA grounds since Rule 42 (now Rule 5.1) was modified in 2005 to allow rugby and soccer internationals to be played in Croke Park during the reconstruction of Lansdowne Road.
The motion passed by 91 per cent of congress delegates. Its origins lie in the controversy caused by the Liam Miller Tribute last September, which was eventually held in Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh but only after the GAA had to revisit an initial decision that such an event would be contrary to rule and allow the match to go ahead.
“Much of the clamour that arose,” said Ryan in his annual report, “amounted to demands for us just to ignore own standards and indeed our decision makers, to ignore the rule or find a loophole and host the game. As a body charged with trying to uphold standards we should not be in the business of finding ways around our own rules.”
The motion passed was proposed by Central Council as a means of ensuring the GAA has the flexibility to make such decisions easier in the future. Previous attempts at introducing the same motion, frequently by Clare club St Joseph’s Miltown-Malbay, were unsuccessful but the fact that this year’s proposal came from Central Council clearly made a significant difference.