Free-to-air motion looks likely to fail Congress test
Published 26/02/2016 | 02:30
Waterford, Roscommon and Leitrim are the latest counties to voice support for a Dublin motion calling for all GAA championship games to be broadcast free-to-air once the current deal expires.
But the support for the Dublin position which has already got the backing of Kerry and Galway, on the condition that it is clarified to apply to the island of Ireland only, is likely to fall short of even a simple majority at this weekend's Congress.
The GAA's three-year deal with Sky Sports to give exclusive coverage for 14 of the 45 championship games has had opposition but counties like Cork, Wexford, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Kildare, Sligo, Mayo, Wicklow, Westmeath and much of Ulster are likely to oppose any restriction in the awarding of future broadcasting rights.
Even Offaly, who were prepared to support a related motion from Clare to last year's Congress that was referred on to Central Council because it didn't involve a rule change, are understood to be undecided this time. It is expected that Clare will support the Dublin motion.
The Gaelic Players Association came out against the Dublin motion yesterday with their chairman, Limerick hurler Seamus Hickey, describing the move as "wholly regressive".
They also issued support for the establishment of an U-20 competition to replace U-21 and the reduction in age of the minor grade from U-18 to U-17.
The proposal for a 'B' Championship, which only Galway have so far publicly supported, is expected to be withdrawn later today.