Here are the key recommendations of the GAA's fixture calendar review taskforce

Here are the key recommendations of the GAA's fixture calendar review taskforce
GAA President John Horan. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Option 1: EIGHT-TEAM PROVINCIAL FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • National League retains current timing and structure, finishing positions used to determine provincial championship seedings.
  • Each provincial championship consists of 8 teams, involving the moving of counties from Ulster and Leinster to Connacht and Munster each year.
  • Each province has two groups of four teams - seeded from the National League - who play off in round-robin system, guaranteeing three games.
  • Group winner progresses to provincial final, 2nd and 3rd placed teams go to qualifiers, 4th placed team participates in 2nd Tier championship.

Option 2: NATIONAL LEAGUE FORMAT FOR CHAMPIONSHIP

  • Repositioning of the National League to the summer months, provincial competitions move to February/March period.
  • Provincial championship would be played in spring as round-robin competitions with semi-finals and finals.
  • Munster and Connacht would be round-robin groups of 6. Leinster would be 2 round-robin groups of 5. Ulster would be two round-robin groups of 5.
  • The current National League would move to the summer to determine qualification for the All-Ireland series.
  • The top four teams in Division 1 and the top two teams in Division 2 would qualify for the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
  • The top team in Division 3 and 4, along with teams placed 3rd and 4th in Division 2, would go into qualifier games to play against the top 2 teams in Division 1 in quarter-finals.
  • Relegation on a 2 up, 2 down basis would continue.
  • A Tier 2 knock-out competition would exist for some teams from Division 3 and 4.
  • Tier 2 final to be played with All-Ireland football semi-final.

OPTION 3: Retention of the current trial structures

  • Retain the present senior hurling and football championship structures while simultaneously taking action to improve the overall balance between the time currently available for club and inter-county games.

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS

  • New oversight unit consisting of full-time provincial personnel and feeding into a national grouping to be established. Club fixtures to be the remit of at least one employee in each province. New oversight unit’s immediate task should be to review the effectiveness, sanctions, practicality of what is already in place and bring recommendations as necessary to Central Council for change. 10-day rule to cover all club games, not just club championship. No inter-county challenge games in April, sanction to be proposed by new oversight unit. Monitor adherence to closed season also. Unit to be given authority in rule to establish sanctions for breaches.
  • There should be no senior inter-county activity — training, trials or challenge games — between a team’s exit from the Championship and December 1 each year.
  • Retain existing pre-season provincial competitions but do not commence until post January 1.
  • The Sigerson Cup must be completed on or before the fifth Sunday of the year. The Fitzgibbon Cup to be completed on or before the 7th Sunday of the year.
  • The Galway club champions participate in either the Ulster, Munster or Leinster hurling championships.
  • Club senior and intermediate championships to consist of a maximum of 16 teams.
  • U20 football championship to be played in February/March. Eligibility restricted to players who have not played in that season’s National League.
  • U20 hurling championship to be restricted to players who have not competed in that season’s MacCarthy Cup, until that team is eliminated from senior championship. Leinster and Munster U20 champions advance directly to All-Ireland final.
  • Minor (U17) inter-county championships become tiered developmental competitions and be decoupled from senior All-Ireland semi-finals and finals.
  • All-Ireland junior football championship be scrapped.
  • Hurling Development Committee consider expanding Liam MacCarthy Cup groups to six teams.

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