Monday 27 January 2020

Revealed: GAA chief Paraic Duffy launches proposals to revamp the football Championship

The All-Ireland championship is set for a major revamp
The All-Ireland championship is set for a major revamp
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The GAA have unveiled new plans to reform the All-Ireland football championship with the proposed introduction of a 'super league'for the quarter-final stages.

Under the terms of the proposal the last eight teams would split into two groups of four and play off against each other over three weekends.

It would involve the addition of eight extra games into the championship calendar and is largely dependent on revisiting the playing of extra-time in all championship matches with the exception of an All-Ireland final - a motion rejected at Congress the four provincial councils tightening their schedule.

The proposed format would see the provincial championships and four rounds of qualifiers played as normal.

The provincial champions and four fourth round qualifier winners would still fill the quarter-final places.

As part of the plan these quarter-final group games would be played at provincial venues with the document, drafted by GAA director-general Paraic Duffy and president Aogan O Fearghail with the backing of their Management Committee, would counter the "Dublin centred bias of the current structure."

The GAA invited submissions for championship reform last year and three were sent to Congress with Central Council's own proposal to establish a 'B' Championship for Division Four teams being withdrawn.

With the need to compress the championship season it is proposed that the All-Ireland semi-finals be played on the same weekend.

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Provincial finals would need to be completed by the first weekend in July for the proposal to work most efficiently.

The addition of eight extra games at that stage of the championship season would be an obvious revenue generator but Duffy believes the need to condense the championship season is paramount for club players.

"If you're a club player you won't see your inter-county player as long as county is involved. The earlier the inter-county season finishes the better for clubs. You have to condense the season," he said.

Duffy's proposal, the format of the All-Ireland senior football championship would be as follows:

PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: Knock-out format as at present.


Round 1: Sixteen teams that do not qualify for provincial semi-finals

Round 2: Eight round 1 winners play eight defeated provincial semi-finalists

Round 3: Eight round 2 winners play each other on an open-draw basis

Round 4: Four round 3 winners play four provincial runners-up


Proposal 1:

(i) A Division 3 or 4 team drawn against a Division 1 or 2 team in rounds one, two or three of the qualifiers will be granted an automatic home-venue advantage.

(ii) The format of ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides to the qualifier draw will be ended.


Proposal 2:

The current quarter-final stage of the championship to be replaced by a Group Stage, contested by the four provincial champions and the four round 4 qualifier winners.

The group stage will be organised on a league basis with two groups of four teams, with each team playing the other three teams once.

After the group stage is completed the top two teams in each group will progress to the All-Ireland semi-final with the Group 1 winner playing the Group 2 runner-up and the Group 2 winner playing the Group 1 runner-up

Order of fixtures in both groups

Round 1

Team 1 v Team 2. Croke Park

Team 3 v Team 4. Croke Park


Round 2

Team 1 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for provincial champions.

Team 2 V Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for provincial champions.


Round 3

Team 1 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for Team 3 or 4.

Team 2 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for Team 3 or 4.


Home venues shall be subject to approval by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) and

shall meet the criteria set down by the National Facilities/Health and Safety Committee. CCCC shall

make the draws for Rounds 2 and 3.

The above fixtures format for the group stage means that each team will have one game in Croke Park,

one home game and one away game.

Tie-breakers in the event of teams finishing level on points (in order of application):

(i) Result of game between two tied teams (only where two teams are level on points)

(ii) Score difference

(iii) Highest score for

(iv) Goals scored

(v) Play-off match



Group 1 winner v Group 2 runner-up

Group 2 winner v Group 1 runner-up

(to be played over one weekend)



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