The proposal would do away with the quarter-finals and introduce a round robin system
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has today addressed criticisms of their proposal for the restructure of the football championship which would see away with the quarter-final phase of the competition in favour of a group stage.
The group stage would be split between two groups, with the winner of the Munster and Connacht provincial championships placed as Teams 1 and 2 in Group 1.
The remaining two teams (Teams 3 and 4) in Group 1 would be the Ulster runner-up or the team that defeats them in Round 4 of the qualifiers and the Leinster runner-up or the team that defeats them in Round 4 of the qualifiers.
The football qualifiers, or the "second chance match" as referred to in the proposal, would remain in their current format.
Group 2 would see the provincial winners from Ulster and Leinster (Team 1 and 2 respectively), as well as the Munster runner-up or the team that beat them in Round 4 of the qualifiers (Team 3) and the Connacht runner-up or the team that beat them in Round 4 of the qualifiers.
How the quarter-final system would be replaced. Image: GAA.ie
The fixtures would be played out as such:
This, the proposal states, gives every team a home game and a game in Croke Park. Tie-breakers in the event of teams finishing level on points will also apply and (in order of application):
(i) Result of game between two tied teams (only where two teams are level on points)
(ii) Score difference
(iii) Highest score for
(iv) Goals scored
(v) Play-off match
The semi-finals would then be split and both game would be played over the same weekend.
The proposal adds: "It will provide a valuable enhancement of the championship by way of eight additional competitive matches contested by the country’s eight best teams. The group games will increase interest at the peak of the GAA season and provide a much wider opportunity for the country’s best teams to display their skills and the qualities of Gaelic football in summer playing conditions."
They claim that the new structure will provide "a more exacting pathway to the All-Ireland final: the finalists will have had to compete with three of the best teams in the country at the group stage,followed by a semi-final with a top-four team that came through the same test".
They continue: "This will have the effect of ensuring that the finalists will have been equally tested and that the two best teams in the country contest the All-Ireland final."
Addressing club players the proposal says that to reduce the frustration of rescheduling, would be to reduce the intervals between matches and insist that extra time be played at the end of all drawn matches and that all replays be played on the following weekend.
You can read the full proposal released today by clicking here.