GAA Football

GAA will make no rush decisions says Horan

GAA president John Horan. Picture by Eoin Noonan /Sportsfile

THE GAA will make “no rush decisions” about games returning and says it “will not put anyone at risk just for the sake of playing games” after being granted power yesterday to alter the structure of its own championships.

A Special Congress overwhelmingly backed giving the GAA’s 16-person management committee the power to make swift adaptations in response to the “fluid situation” around the Covid-19 epidemic.

The vote in favour was almost unanimous, with 91 per cent (59 out of 65) of the delegates involved in the online meeting backing the motion. Five votes were not cast, and one person abstained.

Last night, GAA president John Horan said that the association would continue to take its guidance from health authorities.

“From the very beginning, we have always taken our guidance from the health authorities within the country, and we shut down very quickly when they brought that on to the table.

“But no, we won’t be making any rush decisions to return to playing our games.

“We’re very conscious of the health and wellbeing of our members who, within their own families and within their extended families, have to be looked after and we don’t want to put anyone at risk just for the sake of playing games.”

The GAA had called counties together in a conference call in early afternoon to ask for the freedom to adapt the setup of the championships.

It means a new rule has been added with immediate effect that gives the GAA’s management committee the power to make decisions without the need for specific backing from Congress in ‘special emergency circumstances’.

This includes setting competition structures, which was the idea behind its fast-tracked introduction. In the event that games are played later in the year, the GAA are preparing for a radically different championship structure.

London GAA had tabled an alternative motion to the Special Congress that would have seen an existing rule altered, rather than a new rule added to the book as per the GAA’s motion.

However, nobody seconded the motion and so no vote took place on it.

Crucially, the new powers granted will circumvent an existing rule that meant a 28-day window was needed between a decision being passed and any changes coming into operation.

“The situation is very fluid and this allows the management committee to make decisions and get them implemented,” said Horan.

“Ordinarily, if you call a Special Congress to make decisions such as to change the structure of our championships, you have a 28-day period before any decision of Congress is actually effective.

“In that context, this gives us greater flexibility to move and to return to playing if that situation arises.”

On the back of further government restrictions on society, the GAA announced earlier this week that the championships would not begin until at least July.

It also said it will aim to accommodate both club and inter-county games if there is a resumption of activity later it the year.

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GAA Football