GPA unveil ‘Champions League’ type football proposal
‘Structure of the football competition has been a burning issue for several years’
The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) has unveiled its proposals to the GAA’s competition structures review. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) has unveiled its new “Champions League” type football proposal, which will now go before Croke Park as part of the GAA’s competition structures review.
As expected, the GPA have opted for a new All-Ireland Series comprising of a 32-team series, with eight groups, the seedings of which are determined by NFL standings and provincial championships.
The proposed format was produced following a lengthy consultative process with all players and county football squads: a working group was also established to oversee the process.
“The structure of the inter-county football competition has been a burning issue for several years,” says GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell. “This proposal, developed in consultation with players, aims to tackle the concerns raised in relation to the current structure. These changes will improve the welfare of the player by tightening the competition calendar, improving the games to training ratio and enhancing the playing experience at club and county level.
“This proposal can help unlock the potential of our inter-county football competition from a number of important perspectives.”
The GPA also believes it will provide a catalyst for a productive debate regarding the restructuring of the football season.
The proposal also questioned counties from the lower divisions regarding a new structure and the majority of counties rejected the inclusion of a secondary competition in any proposal. The GPA working group also believes the inclusion of this new series will provide a serious impetus for inter-county football competition while facilitating an improvement in the club fixture schedule.
Key points contained in the GPA football championship proposal include:
* Better playing experience
* A fairer and more equitable competition structure
* Increased number of high profile games for all counties
* Pre-determined closed and pre seasons
* An increase in the games to training ratio
* More structure to county and club championships
* League and Provincial Championships directly linked to new All-Ireland Series
* Improved experience for supporters of game
* Enhanced commercial revenue for the GAA at central and county level
* High profile games in regional venues boosting local economies
According to the GPA, an overwhelming number of county squads have favoured the proposal over the current system and the players’ body is recommending that the system be trialled over a two-year period and then reviewed.