Wednesday 17 July 2019

Congress to decide whether GAA's Central Council will be given power to allow soccer and rugby games at all inter-county venues

Páirc Uí Chaoimh staged the Liam Miller Memorial match between Manchester United Legends and Republic of Ireland & Celtic Legends last September. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Páirc Uí Chaoimh staged the Liam Miller Memorial match between Manchester United Legends and Republic of Ireland & Celtic Legends last September. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

THE GAA's Central Council will have the power to allow soccer and rugby games to be played at ALL inter-county grounds if a motion at next month's GAA Congress in Wexford is backed by sixty percent of delegates.

At the moment Central Council only has the authority to allow so called foreign games to be played at Croke Park. The issue came to a head last year when the GAA faced a barrage of criticism when the newly developed Pairc Ui Chaoimh in Cork was unavailable initially for the Liam Miller testimonial soccer game.

In his annual report GAA director general Tom Ryan said the associated felted 'bullied' into making the ground available and essentially they had to bend their own rules in order for this to happen. The new motion which has been proposed by Central Council is designed to prevent the association getting into this embarrassing situation again.

However, it does not mean that inter county grounds will be thrown open to all events. Each application will be judged on its merit and the proposed new rule states that only 'in exceptional circumstances' will the Central Council allow grounds to be used for 'activities other than those controlled by the Association.'

Meanwhile, Dublin could lose the right to nominate Croke Park as their 'home' venue for games in the Super 8 series if a motion from Donegal is passed. The motion simply states 'counties who qualify for the football inter county quarter final group stages shall not be permitted to nominate Croke Park as their home venue.'

In the event of the motion receiving the required sixty percent backing it would come into force for the 2019 championship which would mean that if Dublin reached the Super 8s they would only have one game at headquarters in the group stages.

The GAA has also moved to clear up anomalies surrounding the rule banning inter county training camps between April and November. Under the new proposal teams will not be allowed any 'overnight' stays unless they receive specific permission from the Central Competitions Control Committee.

The Association are also attempting to tidy up the rule surrounding the criteria governing the choice of venue for inter-county championship matches.

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This arises from the controversy about the decision of the CCCC to fix the qualifier match between Kildare and Mayo for Croke Park last year – game went ultimately went ahead in Newbridge.

The new rule simply states that venues 'shall meet the criteria set down by the National Facilities/Health and Safety Committee' which in layman's terms that the capacity of the ground will not impact on whether it is chosen to host a game.

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