“The whole Championship structure needs to change”
Those were the words of Dublin football boss Jim Gavin who has called for a radical reform of the All-Ireland Football Championship.
Gavin’s vision for the future of football involves scrapping the National League, a much earlier provincial championship, and a Champions League style All-Ireland series.
If this plan was to be implemented, a lot of big decisions would have to be made. Furthermore, what would the advantages of such a system be?
1. Provincial championships become more valuable
Provided they are kept as a separate competition. The problem with these competitions is that they mean nothing to the teams that want to further their title ambitions.
Following winning a provincial title, teams go straight into a quarter-final. Lose that final and a county might have to play six days later. How is that fair?
The season could be over before it ever really began. If the provincial competitions are on earlier and kept separate from the All-Ireland series, interest would be revived and we will have better quality games as a result.
2. Justice for the club player?
If the powers that be were to scrap the National League, we would have the GAA football season ending around August, which means the club would be of sole focus for a longer period of time, provided club championships are still held during the inter county season.
Longer lay-offs would be avoided and the club players would be accommodated better by having more game-time. This plan would compliment the current proposal by the GAA to have the All-Ireland finished within the calender year, which is win-win situation for all concerned.
3. No long lay-offs
The current lopsided structure of the inter county football season has led to some teams only having two games per season, while others play five or six.
If the All-Ireland series were to played in a round-robin style, like Gavin has suggested, everyone would get the same amount of games.
Furthermore. counties would benefit from more competitive action and become stronger; a definite for those who would love more winners of Sam Maguire.
Ashling Dalton, Pundit Arena
Featured image By visentico (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons