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GAA to relax winter training ban

THE GAA's controversial winter training ban is set for an overhaul.

The finer details of the plan are expected to be thrashed out at the next Central Council meeting on November 12, but it is understood that a more flexible, staggered system will be introduced.

The new rule will allow counties to return to collective training sooner, depending on when they were eliminated from the championship.

There was some suggestion that the new rule could come into force for this winter's moratorium. But as the ban is written into the GAA's Official Guide, any proposed change will have to go before Congress next year, meaning it could not come into effect until 2012.

The move comes amid reports that the ban was being widely flouted last winter, with the Cavan senior footballers accused of conducting collective training last December. However, they escaped sanction after an investigation.

As it stands, all senior inter-county teams are barred from conducting collective training sessions in November and December, though they are permitted to run a number of 'trials'.

In a bid to work around the ban, some counties have already put plans for 2012 in place, with the likes of Armagh, Meath, Louth and Cavan expected to compete in a mini-tournament in late October.

Laois brought a motion to last April's Congress that stated that collective training should be allowed from December 1 onwards, but it fell narrowly short of the 66pc majority required.

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