GAA Football

Harte concerned for 'existing provincial boundaries'

MICKEY Harte has accused the Football Review Committee of laying the foundations for a "Champions League-style format" that could see the disappearance of the provincial Championships.

Writing in his weekly column in The Irish News today, the Tyrone manager argues that the FRC's research was flawed from the beginning and that their most recent proposals to tweak the existing Championship format was an exercise in "fishing with a long line".

"The zealots for change, some of whom appear to have been selected for the FRC, seem to have a fixation with creating a Champions League-style format," writes Harte.

"Many involved in the work of this appointed committee are well aware that radical change does not sit easily with the rank and file GAA person - thankfully I might add."

Harte holds a conspiratorial view of the FRC's proposal of giving more Championship outings - albeit in different provincial Championships - to the weaker counties as a calculated way of strengthening the perceived need for a Champions League format in the future.

"Interim steps are suggested," Harte adds.

"These may not seem so radical but would generate the four by eight mathematical concept. So the picture unfolds..."

Harte delivers a damning appraisal of the research of the FRC.

He questions "the relevance of the 60 per cent of FRC respondents who noted the lack of a regular club programme of games as an area of concern.

"In real terms, this amounts to 2,400 replies. To put this figure in context, there are almost 12,500 GAA club members in Tyrone alone...

"When this distorted view of the real world is repeated often enough it becomes some kind of truth."

Harte concludes that if the FRC proposals are embraced the GAA will see the "demise of the existing provincial boundaries". n Mickey Harte .........................P71

GAA Football

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