GAA Football

Proposal B falls short at Special Congress but GAA and GPA still want change

GAA President Larry McCarthy and Tom Ryan came out in favour of Proposal B during the week - but it only got just over 50 per cent support at Special Congress.
Kenny Archer at Croke Park

CHANGE is coming to the GAA Football Championship next year - just not the radical reformation that was mooted under Motion 19/ Proposal B.

The delayed Tailteann Cup is set to come in, and only two rounds of All-Ireland SFC qualifiers, instead of the new League Championship - although the Gaelic Players' Association have refused to accept that it is dead and buried.

That Central Council-backed idea reached a very slim majority, favoured by 85 delegates with 83 against, but that 50.6 per cent majority fell far short of the 60 per cent required to effect change.

Ulster GAA chief Brian McAvoy rejected the suggestion that this was a case of 'Ulster says no', but delegates from eight of the nine northern counties did speak against the motion. Down, the only Ulster county said to have backed the proposal, was the exception, the Mourne County delegates staying silent.

GAA President Larry McCarthy and Director-General Tom Ryan indicated that tweaked proposal could come before Annual Congress next February but that another Special Congress later next year might be a more likely vehicle for change.

However, GPA CEO Tom Parsons made it clear that the players' body will be pushing hard to bring back a proposal next spring and ensure there is "positive change" in place for 2023.

McAvoy saiud that further discussions must take place in order to reach broader agreement:

"We've been saying all along that there is a need for change – but it has to be change for the better, not change for the worse. There was no consensus for this motion. It was divisive. And we've seen with the result, 50-50. You have to have consensus for change."

McCarthy acknowledged a degree of disappointment that Proposal B did not pass: "Having said during the week that I hoped we'd be bold, based on the result, for me, we weren't bold enough in terms of it didn't pass. But having said that we're looking forward to a pretty altered landscape anyway for the Championship in 2021. But, yeah, I would have liked to have seen it pass.

"I expect that we will revisit this very, very quickly. I'm not so sure we'll have something for [Annual Congress 2022 in ]February but there's a majority for change and every speaker said they'd like change. In a lot of cases it just wasn't the change that was proposed, but there's certainly a mandate there for change."

GPA chief Parsons absolutely everybody who spoke for or against, mentioned the word change and there is an acceptance that the status quo is broken. The GPA needs to ensure that change is kept on the agenda and we will certainly be burning the midnight oil and ensuring that a change proposal is on the agenda in February and that's something we will be committed to.

"I think it is a tweaking exercise and there is no reason why the players and the Association can't take the league as championship in the spirit that it created around the country and there is no reason what that can't be taken and tweaked and brought back in February as a separate motion but similar spirit."

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GAA Football