Calm before the storm for GAA administrators

Special Congress will attract more attention than this weekend’s Annual Congress, as it deals with a greater number of topical issues.

Calm before the storm for GAA administrators

Special Congress will attract more attention than this weekend’s Annual Congress, as it deals with a greater number of topical issues.

Already flagged by the GAA, a special convening has been scheduled for this autumn, with the likely venue being Croke Park, where Gaelic football’s experimental rules — currently being used in the Allianz Leagues — will be voted on.

The standing playing rules committee may also recommend one or two more rules — such as banning back-passes to goalkeepers — to the Clár.

Plans for a tiered All-Ireland football championship could also be put before delegates, though the exact structure has yet to be decided upon, despite receiving significant backing from Central Council at their meeting last November.

GAA president John Horan is a strong supporter of the tiered system, though it has to be agreed by Central Council whether to enter the 16 Division Three and Division Four teams into the second-tier competition after the provincial championships or following the second round of the qualifiers.

Some developing counties have also touted the idea of re-entry into the Sam Maguire Cup after the conclusion of the secondary championship.

There is also the possibility the GAA will use Special Congress to act upon recommendations from their fixtures review, which is expected to begin in the coming months. The Club Players Association have been informed by the GAA that they will have representation in the process.

After commissioning a group to produce a report into his concerns about development squads, Horan may also take the opportunity of Special Congress to put any of their proposals into action.

The last Special Congress took place in Croke Park in September 2017, when decisions surrounding the scheduling of GAA fixtures, such as the freeing up of April for club matches and the introduction of round-robin provincial senior hurling championships, were agreed upon.

The previous extraordinary session took place in 2009.

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