THE GAA have announced a proposal to revamp the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship to mixed reviews.
Under the new terms, which will be put to county board delegates at the next meeting of Central Council, the quarter-final knock-out stage would be replaced with a group stage format, with two groups of four.
The round-robin format, which is the most notable change of the mooted shake-up, would see each of the last eight teams partake in one home game, one away game and one game at Croke Park, but what does all this mean for the likes of little old London?
BIG DAY OUT
The Provincial Championships would remain as they were, meaning London would still benefit from their annual home game in the Connacht Championship, their biggest source of income in the calendar year and a day many Irish people in London look forward to.
Should Division 4 outfit London lose their Connacht Championship opener, as is often the case, they would enter the new qualifiers format, in which Division 3 and 4 teams would be automatically granted home advantage if they’re drawn against a team from Division 1 or 2 in the first three rounds.
ANOTHER BIG DAY OUT?
That carries the prospect of at least one more big team coming to Ruislip – which will be redeveloped by May 14, 2017 – each summer going forward, if the proposal is passed.
NO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE-STYLE TRAVELLING
The GAA have opted not to entertain the much sought-after idea of a Champions League-style format, which would have seen the abolishment of the Provincial Championships. A Champions League-style structure may have meant more travelling for the likes of London and New York, thereby racking up more travel expenses.
GAA NOT SO GREEDY
Many have been quick to accuse the GAA of creating more games at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage with the proposal of a group stage between the eight teams, but the governing body have promised to ‘ring-fence’ the extra income from gate receipts and TV money and re-invest it in weaker counties, like London.
What are you thoughts on the GAA's proposal for the restructuring of the All-Ireland Championship? Let us know in the comments box below.
THE GAA'S NEW PROPOSAL BREAKDOWN
PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: Knock-out format as at present.
ALL-IRELAND QUALIFIER SERIES
Round 1: Sixteen teams that do not qualify for provincial semi-finals
Round 2: Eight round 1 winners play eight defeated provincial semi-finalists
Round 3: Eight round 2 winners play each other on an open-draw basis
Round 4: Four round 3 winners play four provincial runners-up
(i) A Division 3 or 4 team drawn against a Division 1 or 2 team in rounds one, two or three of the qualifiers will be granted an automatic home-venue advantage.
(ii) The format of ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides to the qualifier draw will be ended.
The current quarter-final stage of the championship to be replaced by a Group Stage, contested by the four provincial champions and the four round 4 qualifier winners.
The group stage will be organised on a league basis with two groups of four teams, with each team playing the other three teams once.
After the group stage is completed the top two teams in each group will progress to the All-Ireland semi-final with the Group 1 winner playing the Group 2 runner-up and the Group 2 winner playing the Group 1 runner-up
Order of fixtures in both groups
Team 1 v Team 2. Croke Park
Team 3 v Team 4. Croke Park
Team 1 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for provincial champions.
Team 2 V Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for provincial champions.
Team 1 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for Team 3 or 4.
Team 2 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for Team 3 or 4.
Home venues shall be subject to approval by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) and
shall meet the criteria set down by the National Facilities/Health and Safety Committee. CCCC shall
make the draws for Rounds 2 and 3.
The above fixtures format for the group stage means that each team will have one game in Croke Park,
one home game and one away game.
Tie-breakers in the event of teams finishing level on points (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
Group 1 winner v Group 2 runner-up
Group 2 winner v Group 1 runner-up
(to be played over one weekend)