The Gaelic Players Association have published their plan to reform the Football Championship.
The GPA have today revealed their plan to reform the Football Championship. The players organisation believes that their proposal will act as a catalyst ‘for a productive debate regarding the restructuring of the football season’.
Although many have highlighted the need to create a tiered championship structure, the GPA found ‘the majority of counties rejected the inclusion of a secondary competition in any proposal’. As a result they have proposed a ‘a 32-team series of eight groups with seedings determined by NFL standings and Provincial Championships’.
Their proposal would see pre season tournaments such as the O’Byrne and McGrath Cups abolished, allowing the National League begin in early February and conclude in late March. The league would be rid of its semi final and final stages, with score difference and head to head records used to rank teams who finish tied.
The provincial championships would then begin in April. After the provincial championships come to an end in May, the GPA propose that the All Ireland series begin, with sides dawn into eight groups of four teams. It is envisioned that all division one sides will be given first seed status, division two teams ranked as second seeds etc. However if a side from outside division one were to win their provincial championship, they would be promoted to first seed status at the expense of division one sides who failed to win their provincial title.
The team who finishes top of each group would advance to the last sixteen, with the sides who finished second and third joining them after playing off in a second round. The bottom side in each group would be eliminated.
The Championship would then take the form of a knock out tournament, with the All Ireland Final scheduled for September 4.
The proposed structure would also ensure that the fourth seeds in each group would receive home advantage against the top seed. Replays would be eliminated with the introduction of a second period of extra time, and if necessary a shoot out from the 45 meter line.
Given the importance of the league within the proposed structure, it is anticipated that the National League could generate an additional €125,000 for the GAA. Similarly the Championship could see it gain €575,000 per annum from gate receipts. Additional sponsorship and media rights may also raise a further €1000,000 for the association.
For additional information watch the GPA’s presentation below.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena