Thursday 19 April 2018

GAA on collision course with managers over proposal to announce teams early

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

GAA managers could be headed for a showdown with Croke Park over a proposal that all championship teams be named a minimum of four days before the game.

Central Council are backing the plan from the Rules Advisory Committee (RAC), which will be discussed at Congress in Derry on Saturday. If passed, managers will be forced to announce teams on a Tuesday or Wednesday depending on whether the game is on Saturday or Sunday. Failure to do so would carry a €500 fine per offence for county boards.

"We felt that earlier announcements would help to increase the amount of publicity that's available in the media for news on teams, comment and analysis of selections, etc," said RAC chairman, Frank Murphy.

There has been a growing trend towards announcing championship teams late in the week over recent seasons.

Some counties don't issue teams for Sunday games until Friday night, while there have been several instances – especially for All-Ireland qualifier games – of teams not being announced until just before throw-in.

Under current rules, there is no requirement on counties to announce teams at any stage before games, except for All-Ireland semi-finals and finals when they must be submitted to Croke Park no later than the previous Tuesday. However, that's for match-programme purposes only and it's often much later in the week when the teams are publicly announced.

Now, the RAC are trying to regularise earlier announcements for all championship games. "The object is to give the media the teams as early as possible to allow comment and analysis, which helps promote our games and generate publicity," said Murphy.

The fact that RAC and Central Council are submitting the motion will put pressure on counties to support the move, but, even if passed, it remains to be seen how team managers react.

The stipulation that a team must be announced four days before games could lead to dummy selections being released, creating public scepticism and media anger. That, in turn, would switch the focus back on county boards and their responsibility to uphold a rule which has the promotion of the GAA as its sole objective.

Meanwhile, Galway GAA members have voted unanimously to remain in the Leinster senior hurling championship on a permanent basis.

Galway entered the Leinster championship in 2009 on a three-year trial and now delegates have given their full backing to staying there indefinitely.

The move has been welcomed by the chairman of Galway County Committee, Noel Treacy, who said that he was confident that a number of stipulations would be met. These include increased expenses – Galway got only €12,500 last year for competing in Leinster – representation on the Leinster Council and the staging of matches in Galway.

Irish Independent

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