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GAA President and Director General offer heavyweight Proposal B backing

Proposal B at Special Congress received its most significant backing on Wednesday from the GAA's ...



GAA President and Director Gen...
Football

GAA President and Director General offer heavyweight Proposal B backing

Proposal B at Special Congress received its most significant backing on Wednesday from the GAA's President and Director General. 

Larry McCarthy and - more tentatively - Tom Ryan have weighed in behind the league-as-championship format.

They held a media briefing at Croke Park ahead of Saturday's Special Congress.

Counties like Cork, Meath, Tipperary and Clare have all given their public support to Proposal B ahead of the vote, while others like Kerry and Laois are taking a more cautious approach.

However, aside from financial projections related to each options presented to county treasurers last week, the GAA had remained quiet on their preferred proposal - if any - this week.

Either proposal requires a 60 per cent majority from the 183 delegates to be passed.

“I said at Congress that I thought we should be bold in terms of considering this report," McCarthy told reporters, "I repeated those sentiments last Saturday week on Raidió na Gaeltachta and that hasn't changed.

"So I would like to see us being bold in terms of our adoption of this report.

“Do I have a preference? Yes, I think I would like to see Proposal B implemented.”

Ryan was somewhat more cautious, telling the assembled media he didn't want to get into the "merits or demerits" of anything on the Clár but said, "From a purely personal perspective, I think if you're looking at what you'd like to see the characteristics of a football championship having, two of the things to my mind would be teams playing at their own level and you have a finite number of games, a definite start and end and teams that get to the same stage of a competition have played the same number of matches.

"And 'B' does that. So for that reason, I think motion-19 is the one I'd like to see."

McCarthy added, "I would like to see this [Proposal B] come in.

"We'll try it, and if we need to tweak it subsequently, we'll tweak it. We're not immune from tweaking.

"We've tweaked the Super-8's - we didn't like them, we eventually got rid of them - we went back to the qualifiers, [and] the quarter-finals.

"If there's something that arises - assuming that 'B' is implemented - and there's something not right with it, or not working for us, we'll certainly tweak it.

"We'll certainly review it at the end of the Championship season which, clearly as you know, will come very very early next year - it would be early July when we'll be finished.

"And so we'll have plenty of time in which to do a revision."

Ryan addressed the financial element to Saturday's vote, with finance director Ger Mulryan telling treasurers last week that there would be little difference - according to their calculations - in projected revenues from all three options on the table.

"The funny thing about our financial fortunes when it comes to championship structures," the Ard Stiúrthóir said, "80 per cent of it is determined by five or six matches - the final, two semi-finals, four quarter-finals, league final, provincial finals.

"And under whatever shape next year takes, those games will still be there and they will still be the bedrock of the whole thing financially.

"The games at the outset of the championship don't have a significant say in how we fare financially. And that's really what is at issue with these three versions of what next year might look like.

"It's fair to say the differences are pretty inconsequential.

"The margins between them are sufficiently small to say that 'we could be wrong' and it could well be that the one we think is less favourable turns out to be more favourable - that will depend on, as it does any year, what couple of teams end up facing off against each other at a particular stage of the championship.

"Very deliberately we looked at the finances, we concluded it's not a financial decision. It wouldn't be anyway.

"The first thing is to look at what shape you want the championship to look like next year.

"Whatever hand is dealt to us by Congress we'll make the best of that that we can. It's not a financial decision, and we weren't putting financial numbers to the forefront of the decision-making process.

"If it was a case that one was hugely more beneficial than the other, we would have a responsibility to do that. But given the marginal difference between them, it's not something we intend making an issue of and it's not something that anyone should cast their vote based on the financial element."

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All-Ireland Football Championship Football Championship GAA Larry McCarthy Proposal A Proposal B Special Congress Tom Ryan

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