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REASONS FOR CHANGE

A new format would revitalise the image of Gaelic Games making it more marketable and attractive to the general public.

The new format would also expand the Gaelic football season with the every game in both competitions proving to be important to the eventual outcome. This format will also keep the profile of the Gaelic games in the shop window for a longer period of time.

The existing provincial competitions and powers of their councils would be retained, albeit in a new, more exciting format.

All games in both championships (Race for Sam and 'B') would be better balanced competitively and the format should eradicate one-sided fixtures and demoralising defeats for some weaker counties.

It avoids repetition of annual fixtures between the same counties, which since the introduction of the backdoor system have clearly lost the intensity of proper championship football.

All fixtures would be more evenly spread over the summer months with an even amount of teams in action each weekend rather than the existing imbalance that exists at the present time where teams in Munster can be idle for very lengthy tracts of the summer.

The general excitement and anticipation of an annual open draw for the group stages would keep the format fresh every year.

The GAA could go one step further and replicate the format from the Heineken Cup by offering bonus points for three goals scored or for the margin of victory. This may assist in negating overly defensive tactics and encourage a more attacking brand of football.

There is a guarantee of two home championship games for all counties which will help boost local economies and individual county board coffers.

There would be a reduction in travel costs during the Conference Leagues, as a lot of fixtures would be shorter in terms of mileage for the travelling counties.

The introduction of midweek games under lights during the Conference Leagues should attract bigger crowds and therefore an increase in revenue.

The new format would allow for greater structure to the club season as Conference League and Championship fixtures could be set well in advance.

For the most part County Boards would no longer have to plan club fixtures around the fortunes of the county team, waiting to see if they remain in their provincial competitions or have to go travel the backdoor route.

With no replays in group stages and a total of four games over ten weeks, some early rounds of club county championships could be played during the summer months helping to complete the club season within the calendar year.



DOWNSIDES

The Conference Leagues would be weighted in favour of the stronger teams and chances of a breakthrough by a weaker team would be reduced.

With the season commencing in February, all senior managers will require full access to their players for all conference and championship games. Consideration may have to be given to amalgamating the Minor and U21 championships into one U19 All-Ireland competition to run concurrent with the Senior All-Ireland Championship.

The Sigerson and the latter stages of the club championships would have to be moved back to the calendar year concluding in late November or early December.

There would be the issue of financial loss to players who would require time off work to prepare for midweek conference games and these costs would need to covered by the GAA.

There is some potential for one-sided outcomes in the Conference Leagues. However, every county deserves the chance to compete for the top prize and achieving qualification to the All-Ireland Championship (Sam Maguire) will be an incentive and a measure of progress for the weaker counties.


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