Saturday 1 October 2016

GPA proposes radical overhaul of All Ireland football championship

Sean McGoldrick

Published 01/10/2015 | 13:03

Dublin players Bernard Borgan, Alan Brogan, top, and Kevin McManamon celebrate with the Sam Maguire cup following their side's victory
Dublin players Bernard Borgan, Alan Brogan, top, and Kevin McManamon celebrate with the Sam Maguire cup following their side's victory

THE Gaelic Players Association has proposed a radical overhaul of the All-Ireland football championship.

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The centre piece of the plan is the creation of a new round robin competition which would determine which counties advanced to the latter stages of the All-Ireland series.

Significantly it is proposed that the National League and the provincial championships would be retained. 

However, in the former competition semi-final and finals would be abolished while the provincial championships would be played in April and early May.

The rest of the month would be devoted to club activity with the round robin format kicking off in early June and the All-Ireland final scheduled for the first Sunday in September.

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Under the new format for the latter stages of the All-Ireland series the 32 counties would be divided into eight groups of four.

The provincial winners are guaranteed number one seeding while the seeding of all other counties would be determined by their League positions.

For example, had the system operated this year the eight number one seeded teams would have been Dublin, Cork, Monaghan, Donegal, Mayo, Kerry, Down and Roscommon.

The other 24 counties would be put into three remaining tiers depending on their finishing positions in their League ie the teams who are in Division 2 for 2016 would be seeded ninth to sixteen and so on.

The only exception is that the four provincial winners would be an automatic top seed.

All eight groups would include a county from each of the seeded pots.

Each team would be guaranteed three games with the fourth seeded team guaranteed home advantage against the number one seeded side. Furthermore, the number one seeded side having home advantage against the second seeded county.

The eight group winners would be guaranteed a place in the last 16 of the All-Ireland series. The second and third placed teams in each group would go into an open draw to determine who would join the group winners in the knock out phase of the All-Ireland series.

The competition would then proceed as normal via quarter-final, semi-final etc. However, in the knock out phase of the series there would be no replays apart from in the All-Ireland semi-final and final.

Instead after two periods of extra time there would be a shoot-out with five players taking a kick a goal from beyond the 45m line.

The GPA estimates that the new format has the potential to generate an additional £1.7m in revenue.

The proposal will be submitted to the GAA which is currently reviewing the championship structure.

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