Sunday 25 June 2017

GPA propose Champions League-style revamp and abolishing league finals

The GPA has proposed dropping League finals and playing off provincial championships in just four weeks in April and early May
The GPA has proposed dropping League finals and playing off provincial championships in just four weeks in April and early May
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The Gaelic Players Association has proposed dropping League finals and playing off provincial championships in just four weeks in April and early May as part of their Championship redraft document circulated to members.

The document incorporates an All-Ireland series that would feature eight groups of four - similar to the Champions League - playing off on a round-robin basis in May, June and early July, the central plank of their reform structures.

It is based on opinion they have already sought from the membership. The proposals are described as a work in progress and are not the finished product with further opinion invited to establish consensus.

The framework also sees the abolition of pre-season provincial competitions.

The provincial championships would be played off under the current format over four weekends in April and early May but would have no link to the All-Ireland series. Players are keen that the provincial championships are retained.

The winners of each All-Ireland round robin group would go straight into the last 16 with the second- and third-placed teams entering a second round of qualifiers to decide who joins them. Seedings for the qualifiers would be drawn from League placings.

All qualifier games would have extra-time and if still undecided after that, the winner would be determined by a 'golden score'.

Under this GPA proposal to its membership the All-Ireland final would be played on the first Sunday in September and a number of club weekends would be catered for by condensing the weekends on which inter-county games are played.

By the middle of July 24 counties would be free to play club fixtures without interruption from inter-county games.

The number of games would increase from 64 under the current format to 91. With the condensing effect the training-to-games ratio would increase from the current 13:1.

But such concentration of games on one weekend would inevitably require unlocking the 'Friday night' conundrum that has been problematic in the past.

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