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GAA chiefs set to be briefed on proposed new fixtures plans


John Horan
John Horan
John Campbell

By John Campbell

GAA President John Horan and members of the Management Committee will tomorrow be briefed on what are expected to be far-reaching proposals from the Calendar Year Fixtures Review Committee relative to future scheduling.

The Review Committee, under chairman David Hassan from Derry, have spent some considerable time in drawing up their recommendations and it is understood that there was a strong focus on 'freeing up' more time for club games.

And while there is understandably an emphasis on club activity, it is believed that the committee is also in favour of a shake-up in terms of the provincial championships, although this is likely to be viewed as a radical measure which may not gain support.

As things stand, April is a 'club only' month, but this may well be extended into the greater part of May with the last weekend of the month earmarked for the start of the All-Ireland Championship - in whatever form that is expected to take.

It is believed that most of the proposed changes, from major departures in current practices to minor tweaks, are centred on football, Horan's committee apparently likely to take the view that the current hurling model requires little if any modification.

Indeed, should amendments to the hurling fixtures itinerary be deemed necessary, then this is likely to be placed in the hands of the Hurling Development Committee.

The Fixtures Review body made it clear even before its first meeting that striving to gain "clarity and certainty" in relation to club fixtures would be a priority, and it is now understood that it will suggest new measures aimed at the governance of what has been described as a "crucial issue."

The Review Committee is understood to have taken a firm line in relation to cancellation of fixtures for tenuous reasons and, indeed, the failure of county boards to ensure that timetables are adhered to in bringing their competitions to a conclusion.

It is now a question of waiting and seeing precisely what proposals the Management Committee will allow to go forward to next weekend's Central Council meeting, and from there those that still survive will be put before Annual Congress in February for formal ratification.

The hope then is that it will be a matter of onwards and upwards.

Belfast Telegraph


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