Paul Rouse: 'Calendar of play the single greatest issue facing the GAA'

Paul Rouse: 'Calendar of play the single greatest issue facing the GAA'

Paul Rouse believes the GAA calendar is the "single greatest issue" facing the organisation.

The UCD lecturer and Irish Examiner sports columnist has been speaking about the possiblity of a B football inter-county championship, but he wrote in the Irish Examiner that it would not be worth it without proper planning and discussion.

He claims "it is not clear how setting up a B Championship is going to close the gap between the strong teams and the weaker teams. And nobody has offered an explanation in and of itself how it can do that".

He said the current structure and calendar are leading to examples like his native Offaly beginning their inter-county season in November of last year, and ending in June in the qualifiers, labeling it as "insane for the number of games they played."

The former Offaly boss also believes there should be a change to the structure of league and championship.

He told Off The Ball's OTB AM: "The calendar of play is the single greatest issue facing the GAA, that integration of club and county and where people play.

"I think the League and the Championship should be run at the same time and I think one should be run as a knock-out, one as a league and the league is actually a league without a league semi-finals and finals."

"I know it's only a league final now, but stop. Play it as a league. Let there be a knockout provincial championship. People love the provincial championship."

"It's all very well to dismiss the provincial championship, and it may be boring in Leinster football because Dublin are still winning, but it is a legitimate aim for the other counties in Leinster to try and improve and compete at that level.

"If you're Kildare or Meath, it should be a realistic goal to win a Leinster championship.

Rouse said a proper solution to bridge the gap between the elite counties and weaker counties will not be reached until there is a lot of planning.

He said: "I regret to say the evidence so far is that the leadership to make the decisions that need to be made has not been apparent.

"What there has been is a series of sticky-plaster fixes and talk about fixes and the kind of illusory unicorn chasing of Super 8s and of two-tier championships. As if these are a solution without structural change. Without much better financial arrangements across counties."

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