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Central Council’s decisions on the Football Review Committee Report

By Sinéad Breen Donegal PRO Tue 1st Jul

1. The National CCCC should have the overall responsibility of coordinating all fixtures at National, Provincial, County, Club, Third Level and Schools. Such overall responsibility would be discharged through the relevant committees at the various levels, but with the National CCCC retaining overall control. One of the main difficulties under the system is that there are various bodies making fixtures independently which does not lend itself to a coherent fixtures programme.
The motion was passed on the basis that CCCC will hold a series of meetings with Fixtures making bodies to ensure the maximum possible co-ordination in the preparation of fixture plans.

2. The period mid-April to early August should see a significant amount of club championship activity, with all counties required to have reached the semi-final stages of their Intermediate and Senior Football Club Championships by the first weekend in August. Clubs in the intermediate and senior grades should have a minimum of one club championship game in each of the months of May, June and July, unless the format in the county is such that fewer games than this can lead to elimination.This motion was lost.

3. Provincial club championships should see semi-finals played by early November, finals by mid/late November with the All-Ireland Club Championship completed in December.
It was agreed, in principle, to complete all club championship activity in both Hurling and Football in the same calendar year. A workgroup will be established which will conduct an examination of how the motion can best be implemented and it will revert to Central Council with its proposals later in the year. If approved, and if any necessary changes in rule are accepted at next year’s Congress, it was agreed that the calendar year will operate from 2016.
4. The Inter-County Provincial Championships should begin with 8 teams in each province. Team playing in the preliminary games in Leinster (3) and Ulster (1) should be determined by National League position in the previous year. It is our proposal that once these games, A,B and C in Leinster and D in Ulster are decided, the losing teams in these four games move province for the provincial series. The draw will have determined which two teams from games A, B and C in Leinster will go to Munster with the third going to Connacht. The team beaten in Ulster (game D) would move to Connacht.
This motion was lost.
5. The 16 provincial quarter-finals would then be played over two successive weekends. The 8 provincial semi-finals would also be played over two weekends. The 4 provincial finals would be played over two successive weekends in July with the All-Ireland quarter finals in early August. There would be no change to the dates for All-Ireland semi-finals and All-Ireland Final.In light of motion no. 4 being lost this motion was not considered.

6. The Qualifier system should be retained, so the sixteen provincial first round losers would enter the qualifiers.It was agreed that the Qualifier system should be retained.

7. The National League Division 1 should conclude with a final between the first two teams rather than semi-finals and final as at present. The League should be played in spring with completion by mid-April.This motion was lost.

8. A National Strategy for Less Successful Counties should be drawn up, guided by a National Steering Group chaired by the Director-General of the GAA, and with a membership drawn from all the relevant stakeholders. A 3-5 year plan should be put in place to provide assistance both by way of finance and through the provision of qualified expertise in certain fields (such as in coaching and sports science). The needs, in terms of personnel and expertise, should first be identified and the appropriate people then recruited and subsidised by the GAA for the duration of the programme. Targeted funds should be ear-marked for such development work and only accessible for that specific purpose.This motion was passed.

9. The Inter-Provincial competition should be re-launched. It should be a weekend competition played over two days and located in a town or city with a strong GAA base. Live night-time television coverage and the provision of a weekend mini-festival of sport and culture should be marketed by experts in an attractive manner particularly for younger audiences. Free admission should be considered.This motion was passed.

10. The Minor age limit should be reduced from U-18 to U-17 so that the majority of Leaving Cert/A Level students may avoid the additional stress and pressure of playing Inter-County football while studying for probably the most important examination of their lives. An appropriate lead-in time, of say three years, should be provided to make this transition.This matter will not be discussed until the report of the Minor Review Group has been received.

11. We believe that there is a strong case for shortening second level senior competitions and concluding them earlier in the school year than at present, and would ask the All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Council, whose Strategy for Post Primary Schools is very impressive, to give this recommendation serious attention.It was agreed to discuss this recommendation with the All Ireland Post Primary Schools Council on this basis.

12. The “two academic courses” eligibility rule at third level colleges should be re-considered as it is disenfranchising players who have a key role to play in college football and beyond. The rules limiting the number of years a student may play to six provides adequate safeguards.This matter was not discussed at the meeting but will be forwarded, in the first instance, for the consideration of Comhairle Ardoideachais.

13. We recommend that the International Rules series should be continued, providing both parties commit to putting out their strongest possible representatives.This issue will be discussed by Central Council after this year’s International Rules game in Australia.

14. The regulations in respect of the closed season and the regulated date for the start of collective training should be strictly enforced, with sanctions imposed for proven breaches. Such sanctions should include significant financial penalties as well as formal reprimands to the County Board officers. This includes not only ensuring Inter-County panels abide by the regulated date for return to collective training but also at Underage ensuring that the panels are restricted to a maximum of three collective sessions – Training and/or Games – per week, as per the regulations.
This motion was passed.

By Sinéad Breen Donegal PRO Tue 1st Jul

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