Three football championship proposals put forward by task force
Club finals to remain in January for foreseeable under review
Fergal McGill, GAA director of player, club and games administration, GAA president John Horan and Eddie Sullivan, Fixtures Calendar Review Taskforce chairman at Croke park. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
The GAA officially launched the report of its Fixtures Calendar Review Task Force in Croke Park on Wednesday. Its objective is stated to be the ‘striking of a better balance and a degree of certainty to the playing of club fixtures alongside the inter-county fixture programme’.
It was emphasised that all recommendations would be extensively discussed in a series of regional meetings with club representatives before the final proposals go to a special congress next April or May.
Recommendations include a range of options for the organisation of the All-Ireland football championship and no change in the hurling.
It is also proposed that a new Oversight Unit consisting of one full-time fixtures analyst per province be appointed to help counties in planning their fixtures programmes.
The All-Ireland club championships will move its semi-finals to December next year but for the foreseeable future, the final will be played in January, despite hopes that it could all be concluded within a calendar year.
The Task Force met on 12 occasions. More than 1,300 members and supporters took part in a detailed online survey and 50 written submissions were received on the subject. The Club Players’ Association were represented on the task force but withdrew in November in protest at what it said was the likely conservative outcome of the final report.
Main intercounty championship proposals
Option 1: A new provincial championship based on four groups of eight that would involve Ulster and Leinster counties migrating to Connacht and Munster to standardise numbers. The method of this redistribution is not specified but it is suggested that league position could be used.
Option 2: Moving the league to the summer months with provincial championships taking place in the spring on a round-robin basis with Munster and Connacht being played in groups of six and Ulster and Leinster in two groups each of five counties. Again an adjustment mechanism would be needed to determine which Leinster county played in Ulster.
Options 1 and 2 would exclude New York from the senior football championship.
Option 3: Retention of the current trial structure on a permanent basis with the All-Ireland quarter-finals being played on a league basis, the Super 8s.
Staging the London and New York Connacht championship matches along with other provincial first rounds rather than on the May bank holiday to accommodate teams’ travelling.
Reducing the gap between All-Ireland finals to a week from a fortnight and further tightening the current calendar to create a six-week window for club activity in April and May.
Hurling championship: Current format to be retained with the Hurling Development Committee to decide whether the Munster and Leinster championship groups should be expanded from five to six counties.