Proposed senior football changes could be introduced on experimental three-year basis

The proposed change to the format of the All-Ireland senior football championship will be introduced on an experimental three-year basis if it passed at Congress later this monthwrites John Fogarty.

The wording of the motion, released earlier today, states the restructuring will come in from next year to 2020 but will require two-third majority support if it is to be made permanent thereafter.

Motion 1 to Congress in Croke Park on February 25 recommends the All-Ireland quarter-finals be replaced by two round robin groups of four with the top two in each qualifying for the semi-finals.

A related motion - motion 2 - to change to the All-Ireland finals’ scheduling would mean the football and hurling deciders would be played on or before the last Sunday in August as opposed to the current September slots.

The third motion linked to the championship format also applies to hurling whereby the facility of replays would only apply to All-Ireland and provincial finals. Studies show that of the last 400 finals (eight per year between the codes) only 38 have ended in draws. Currently, replays apply to all senior championship matches other than qualifiers.

Laois seek a change to the championship so that those 16 teams who don’t qualify for the four provincial finals go into four round-robin groups of four with the top two teams in each progressing to the second round.

The GAA’s Central Council have also put forward a motion on gambling. The Official Guide does not currently refer to betting but this proposal, if it comes into rule, states “a player, a team, a member of a team management or a referee involved in a game is strictly prohibited from betting on the outcome of any aspect of the game concerned”.

Such a breach would be considered as misconduct discrediting the organisation for which penalties range from eight weeks to debarment and expulsion from the GAA.

There are a total of 56 voting motions going forward to Congress with the rules advisory committee having submitted 17 of them. Among the others include changes to the minimum age eligibility at under-age and adult levels, three motions to change a passing voting majority, Galway’s call to change the hurling championship so that their minors, U21s, intermediates and senior are all permitted to play in provincial competitions.

Tipperary are looking for the U21 All-Ireland hurling championship to become U20, while, as has been previously reported, Munster want to replace the inter-county intermediate hurling competition with an U25 “reserves hurling championship”.

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