Dublin lifted Sam last year - but is the football championship set for change? Cathal Noonan/INPHO

'They like the overall structure' - GAA President on football championship changes

Central Council set to discuss reform proposals on Saturday.

PLANS TO REVAMP the GAA football championships are unlikely to involve radical changes to either the provincial structures or the amount of games in the inter-county calendar.

All eyes will be on Saturday’s Central Council meeting to see if the committee can hammer out a motion to go forward to Congress in February.

Eighteen different proposals were submitted as part of the review process, including an ambitious plan from the Gaelic Players Association to create a Champions League-style competition.

The counties will now have their say on the proposals, although Central Council have made it known that they are strongly against some of the more sweeping changes.

“They decided that there shouldn’t be any substantial change to our provincial system,” President Aogán Ó Fearghail explained yesterday.

They like the overall structure for all kinds of reasons, and yes there are inequities and they acknowledge that, but the good thing about the process is they had the opportunity to see alternatives.

“At the end of the discussion they felt the provincial structures should be maintained. They feel the inter-county game at the minute has a sufficient number of games.

“They felt any change shouldn’t involve any substantial increase in the number of games we currently play at inter-county level because some of the proposals had some changes in that direction.”

Speaking to the Irish Independent on Saturday, GPA chairman Dessie Farrell said that months of work on their proposal “seemed to be completely dismissed.”

But despite Central Council’s guidelines, Ó Fearghail said that none of the proposals are dead in the water.

“They are all runners,” he said. “Any county at any stage can submit a motion to Congress on the championship proposals, and we have never said that any proposal was a good one or a bad one.

Central Council established the principles so all 18 proposals are still there. They have been circulated to the counties and I want to hear what they have to say on them. All of them are there but the principles are also there.

He added: “All I can do is reflect what I hear Central Council saying to me. I have to listen to what they are saying and Central Council are strongly saying they don’t want to see a dismantling of the provincial championships and they do not want to see a structure that would add substantially more games to inter-county.

“They want to create space for clubs and within that we will move it forward.”

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