Annual GAA Congress 2016
The Annual GAA Congress 2016 was held over last Friday night and Saturday at the Mount Wolseley Hotel in Carlow. There were 65 motions put forward for discussion from clubs around the country at this years congress. In order for a motion to be passed at congress, it has to be voted by a two thirds majority. Here are some of the more important motions decided upon at this year’s Congress.
Motion 2 – Lost
The controversial proposition of an All-Ireland ‘B’ Football Championship was withdrawn due to lack of support, while motions 56 and 57, which were similar, were defeated. (Motion 56) The Roscommon motion proposes that, after the provincial championships are finished (by the first weekend of July, the proposal states), the competition will divide into two separate competitions, the Tier 1 competition and a Tier 2 competition. In Year 1 of the new proposal, Tier 1 (Sam Maguire) will feature the eight provincial finalists and the eight highest ranked teams in that year’s Allianz Football League (not including provincial finalists where there is a crossover). From year 2 on, the winner of the previous year’s Tier 2 competition will also be included in the Tier 1 competition, along with the seven highest ranked national league sides.
Motion 4 – Passed
This motion proposed the change of the age limits in inter-county minor football and hurling from U18 to U17 from January 1st, 2018 onwards. It also proposed that, at club level, minor players would be aged between 14 and 18 years of age, but it will remain U18s. As with many of the motions, it was a narrow victory for the motion as it passed with 68.2% of the vote.
Motion 5 – Passed
Motion 5 has been passed with 68.6%! That, alongside Motion 4, is a major motion to be passed. From the 2018 season, U21 inter-county football in the months of February, March and April will be no more.
Here’s what will be:
The U21 grade at inter-county football level will be replaced with an U20 grade, with players eligible to be aged between 18 and 20. It proposes no such change to the U21 grade for hurling, or at club level, in either code.
The competition will take place between June and August, with no replays. Drawn games will be decided by extra-time, and, in the event of that not providing a winner, by “the outcome of a sudden-death free-taking competition, the details of which shall be determined by the Central Council.”
Any player on a team list submitted to an inter-county referee for a senior inter-county championship match in that season will not be eligible to compete in the U20 competition. The U21 grade in hurling, and at club level in both codes, will be entirely unaffected by this motion.
Motion 7 – Lost
A very significant motion. This proposed that All-Ireland football finals be played on the first Sunday in September, with the hurling final to be played two weeks prior. The aim of this motion was to provide more space for playing club games in the month of September. Effective from January 1, 2017.
Motion 7 received 60.8 per cent, but not the two-thirds majority, so the motion was lost. Therefore, no changes to when All-Ireland finals are held. That is a major torpedo to the ambitions for a new, comprehensive, calendar year fixtures plan.
Motion 41 – Passed
This motion at GAA Congresss 2016 provided for the introduction of ‘the mark’ in Gaelic football. This is precisely what is proposed:
“When a player catches the ball cleanly from a Kick-Out without it touching the ground, on or past the 45m line nearest the KickOut point, he shall be awarded ‘a Mark’ by the Referee. The player awarded a ‘Mark’ shall have the options of (a) Taking a free kick or (b Playing on immediately.
The following procedures shall apply:
(a) A Free Kick
The player shall signify to the Referee that he is availing of and then take the free kick himself from the hand from the point where he was awarded the ‘Mark’.
Once the player indicates he is taking the ‘Mark’ the Referee will allow up to five seconds for the player to take the kick. If the player delays longer than five seconds the Referee will cancel the ‘Mark’ and throw in the ball between a player from each side. Once the player indicates he is taking the ‘Mark’, the opposing players must retreat 10m to allow the player space to take the kick. If an opposition player deliberately blocks or attempts to block the kick within 10m, or if an opposition player impedes the player while he is taking the kick, the Referee shall penalise the opposition by bringing the ball forward 13m.
If the Referee determines that the player who makes the ‘Mark’ has been injured in the process and is unable to take the kick, the Referee shall direct the Player’s nearest team mate to take the kick but he may not score directly from the kick.
(b) Play on immediately (i) In this circumstance the player may not be challenged for the ball until he carries the ball up to a maximum of four consecutive steps or holds the ball for no longer than the time needed to take four steps and/or makes one act of kicking, hand passing, bouncing or toe-tapping the ball.
(ii) If he is illegally challenged, a free kick shall be awarded to his team from the point at which the challenge is made, and this free kick may be taken by any player on his team.”
With 68 per cent, just getting the two thirds, the mark was introduced to Gaelic football.
Motion 43 – Lost
Proposed that all televised inter-county championship games be available on free to air TV. Former President Nickey Brennan speaking with fierce passion about the importance of rejecting Motion 43, suggesting it could contravene EU laws and regulations…. Strong opposition against, and Motion 43 was defeated with just 15.3 per cent of the vote.
So there you have it from GAA Congress 2016. What are your thoughts?
View the GAA Annual Accounts 2015
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