Croke Park may have to become an all-seater stadium while social distancing remains a reality.
GAA president John Horan confirmed that because of the two-metre restriction the capacity of the venue will be 21,000 after the 5,000 limit is lifted by the Government. However, that would double to 42,000 was social distancing be reduced to one metre.
Because of the difficulty in social distancing on terraces, bucket seats would have to be installed on Hill 16 for large games in the stadium.
Confirming Croke Park will not so long as social distancing exists Horan told his club Na Fianna’s Facebook page, “We have already worked it out that if large crowds are to gather over 5,000 we probably could put 21,000 into Croke Park safely.
“The operations team in Croke Park have mapped it out. Obviously, that blue mesh that’s used in Croke Park would be used to block off seats. It would cause impracticalities as it would cause an element of lottery for tickets and premium ticket holders would probably have to be accredited the following year.
“Until social distancing is scaled back, we won’t be able to pack Croke Park. It is our intention to get it open and going when we get the inter-county games going and if it goes back to one metre we would probably be able to double the attendance to 42,000.
“There’s an issue over the Hill and whether we would be able to get seating in there because really controlling crowds is always going to be a nightmare going forward.”
Horan also spoke about the work the fixtures taskforce group had done and the Special Congress which was to take place this September to discuss the future of the All-Ireland senior football championship and the GAA calendar.
Interestingly, Horan said the provincial championships were “a monster” that stood in the way of fixture reform taking place. “I think the fixtures review work have done great work on that. Unfortunately, we were meant to be out around the country on a roadshow at the moment and bringing that to a Special Congress in September.
“But the actual work is done, it’s there. The proposals are there. One of the big challenges is to tackle the monster that is the traditional feature of the GAA that is the provincial championships. Ulster and Munster you’d find it very hard to move in terms of the Munster hurling championship and the Ulster football championship.
“But getting that work done and getting it out unfortunately we may not finish it out before my time comes to an end but it will be there and hopefully Larry (McCarthy) will push it on.”