Club Players Association (CPA) chairman Micheál Briody believes the FAI are targeting a major weakness in the GAA’s structure as they aim to introduce summer schedules across the board by 2020.
Briody sees the national soccer body’s moves as opportunistic but understandable given “a gap in the market” that the GAA have failed to fill.
“The soccer guys are boxing clever because they’re availing of an opportunity that is not being catered for by the GAA,” he said.
“There are not enough club fixtures for GAA players in the summer and so there is a gap in the market. The gap in the market that is there at the moment is being filled by GAA players going over to play in the States during the summer where there are set dates for games, so this is just the competition identifying an area where the GAA are weak.”
As the FAI held an information night on their summer schedule plans in Limerick last night, with plans for another in Cork on Monday, Briody believes they will have some success with it because guys just want to play team sports.
“Hurling and football may be their preferred sports but if they are given certainty of fixtures they’ll opt for other sports. I would compare it to a business operation — if you ignore a certain part of your market and somebody identifies that with their own product, then they’re going to sweep it up.”
Meanwhile, a tidying up of the sin bin is expected to be the second amendment to Gaelic football’s proposed experimental rules. After it was reported earlier this week that the zonal areas for the kick-out have been jettisoned, it is now anticipated that there will be an alteration to the sin bin idea. As it stands, the suggestion is to order off a player for 10 minutes if they have committed a black card infraction or picked up two yellow cards. Upon returning to the field, if they pick up another black or yellow card they are dismissed and they can’t be replaced. It is also proposed the maximum number of substitutions in normal time return to five, as was the case prior to the introduction of the black card in 2014.
However, the idea has been widely viewed as too lenient on foul play, while its practicality across the spectrum of the game has also been questioned. Speaking to this newspaper last week, Football Review Committee chairman Eugene McGee queried how workable both the kick-out protocol and the sin bin would be at club level.
It may now be the case that the 10-minute sin bin will be the punishment for a black card offence. The black card, which McGee and his group helped to usher in, was an amendment itself in that the original proposal pre-Christmas 2013 stated some yellow card offences were worthy of automatic substitutions and some weren’t.
The playing rules committee, led by Derry’s David Hassan and featuring the likes of Cork secretary Frank Murphy and former Cork senior football manager Brian Cuthbert, have stressed the proposed changes that were released early last month would be filtered through a consultation process and could be altered prior to a finalised list being rubber-stamped by Central Council later this month and coming into operation for the pre-season competitions and the Allianz League.
Already gone is the idea that only two players from each team can populate the space between the 45-metre lines as a kick-out is being taken. Instead, only part of the experimental rule will remain in place: that goalkeepers must kick the ball on or past their own 45m line. Also, goalkeepers will be able to kick all restarts from the 20m line.
The decision to amend was taken following considerable feedback that policing the area would be difficult for match officials not to mention the futility of it in encouraging high fielding when players from both teams would be within reach of the kick-out landing regardless of the exclusion zone.
The final proposed list of rules that will go to Management Committee and Central Council on November 23 and 24 respectively are expected to be confirmed next week.