Yesterday’s announcement that Allianz has extended their sponsorship of the National Leagues to 2025 is not expected to impact on the proposal to push the football league into the summer.
The news might suggest that the Allianz Leagues as they are currently formed will be retained after this season but GAA sources insist that is not the case and the possibility for radical change to the football season from 2021 remains.
The flipping of the competition to become the new Championship structure is one of three SFC options that will be voted on at Special Congress in September. The national fixtures review task-force has suggested the provincial championships replace its previous slot in the spring.
The switch of the league to summer would be regarded as the most revolutionary of the three models, far ahead of “the improved status quo”, which entails the current structure but in a slightly tighter timescale, and closely followed by the redrawing of the provinces into four conferences of eight teams.
However, were the leagues to be moved to a later date and be retitled as the Championship, the GAA would face a challenge accommodating their existing associate sponsors of the All-Ireland senior football and hurling championships and Allianz.
The current Centra and SuperValu deals are due for renewal while Bord Gáis and Littlewoods Ireland are signed up as hurling backers until 2022 as are Eir with football, while AIB’s current contract for the club championships and All-Ireland SFC continues until 2023.
News of Allianz’ sponsorship extension will bring the GAA’s association with the insurance company to 33 years. GAA president John Horan said: “The Allianz Leagues has been transformed from a competition that once started before Christmas to one that now illuminates the spring months through the quality of our games which come thick and fast.”