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Half of GAA inter-county chiefs want change to Senior Football Championship

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Niall Scully of Dublin with the Sam Maguire Cup following the All-Ireland SFC final between Dublin and Mayo last December. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Niall Scully of Dublin with the Sam Maguire Cup following the All-Ireland SFC final between Dublin and Mayo last December. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Niall Scully of Dublin with the Sam Maguire Cup following the All-Ireland SFC final between Dublin and Mayo last December. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

All-Ireland SFC reform now looks increasingly likely after an Irish Independent poll of county board chairpersons showed a significant mood for change to the current format.

There is, however, still some way to go before consensus is reached on a preferred structure.

More than half of the respondents to an in-depth survey stated they supported one of the two football championship structure proposals emanating from the Fixtures Calendar Review Task Force – or, in the case of Longford, suggested something more radical still.

That equates to 56 per cent in favour of change, with 20 per cent opposed.

Motion 18 (Proposal A) and 19 (Proposal B), from the Fixture Calendar Review Task Force (FCRTF) were chief among those 10 motions deferred until Special Congress with no immediate urgency for the GAA to decide as any new format would not come into force until 2022.

There are essentially three options on this matter.

Just four respondents were explicitly in favour of retaining the status quo while nine counties offered either decisive or qualified support for the league championship model, seen as the more extreme of the two alternatives.

Meanwhile, finance is the biggest current worry among GAA county boards.

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Some 19 of the 25 survey respondents said their ability to fund future activities was the single biggest challenge facing their county post Covid-19.

Less than a week since the GAA reported losses of €34m across central, provincial and county levels, and with forecasts that 2021 will be largely similar, an overwhelming majority of chairpersons pointed to the future financial health of their counties as the most significant issue for them over the coming years.

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