No FRC plans for new structures

Football Review Committee (FRC) chairman Eugene McGee

Football Review Committee (FRC) chairman Eugene McGee has clarified they will not be putting forward any All-Ireland championship restructure proposals to next year’s Congress.

It had been thought the group would forward a recommendation for delegates to vote on in March, similar to their work on the playing rules.

However, McGee confirmed they will release “a white paper” in which alternative systems will be discussed but will not be pitching any alternative structures to the GAA.

“We will put together a document but we will not be putting recommendations forward. That’s a matter for the GAA.

“Any proposed changes would need a national event and in fairness a fella being pulled down by the neck is, with all respects, minute in comparison.

“You’re talking about a competition that has been there for 129 years so it’s a matter completely for the body that governs it.”

Initially, the All-Ireland SFC hadn’t been part of the FRC’s remit but was later added, much to the surprise of some Croke Park officials.

McGee and his group will reconvene following the end of the Championship and he is relieved there won’t be as much graft involved as there was in the playing rules.

He has watched with interest as criticism of the current format has come from different quarters.

“These things go in cycles but the last six weeks everybody is complaining. It won’t be remembered much by the end of the Championship but it’s interesting that different kinds of people are complaining about it.

“Players are complaining, especially from weaker counties, when they would have been too docile in the past.

“The weaker counties have never done anything to come up with proposals when a lot could be improved. There’s no point in whinging about it.

“The Tommy Murphy Cup got off to a great start but then you had teams failing to play in games.”

McGee wants to hear more from the weaker counties about what they would do to improve their lot in the Championship.

“There doesn’t seem to be a move for a “B” Championship. I saw Waterford’s Paddy Joe Ryan, the former Munster Council chairman, saying he’d rather see Waterford beat Kerry once every 50 years. With that type of logic, it’s not easy to make progress but I presume he was saying that with the implication that Waterford wouldn’t be in the Sam Maguire.

“Weaker counties have to stand up and be counted. We’ve had 10 years or so now of the qualifiers and they either work or they don’t. Do they now want three games instead of the guaranteed two?

“How many teams have won over the 10 years have won just a couple of games? We’ll need those stats when we get working.

“The likes of Waterford and Carlow have won very few matches but there does appear to be greater interest from players in the need to do something.

“It could come down to a money thing too because a lot of it is being wasted in counties on just two or three Championship games a year. There’s €300,000 to €400,000 being forked out and questions will be asked whether that is that the best way to spend money.”


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