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Special Congress hands emergency powers to GAA chiefs


John Horan

John Horan

�INPHO/Morgan Treacy

John Horan

In a first ever for the Gaelic Athletic Association, yesterday's Special Congress was held exclusively through technology as chiefs bid to get around the coronavirus pandemic.

Special Congress was called in order to place the powers of Congress - specifically in redrawing up competition structures - in the hands of the 16 men who make up the GAA's Management Committee. It was phrased by the GAA itself as a "temporary governance structure in emergency situations".

With a ban on large social gatherings, the GAA is faced with a scenario whereby it could lose out on €60m (£52m) this year with a total wipeout of inter-county action.

Already, the final two regulation rounds of the National Football League will be postponed until after any form of Championship that might be played later this summer.

The latest estimates are that some sort of knockout Championship could commence in September, with an All-Ireland final played on the weekend of November 21-22 to coincide with the centenary anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

It would appear that there is a need in such a tightened calendar to revert to a knockout Championship, or at least one with a backdoor, but without the Super 8s All-Ireland quarter-final system in football and the round-robin hurling games in Munster and Leinster.

The Tier Two football competition, the Tailteann Cup, also looks to be shelved.

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However, the idea that games could be played behind closed doors would seem at this stage rather far-fetched.

The 16-man Management Committee will include current president John Horan and president-elect Larry McCarthy of New York. Director-General Tom Ryan is also involved.

Former GAA president Aogán ÓFearghail of Cavan is also included, as well as Ulster Council president Michael Hassan.

At yesterday's remote meeting, 65 delegates in all were eligible to vote. The London county board actually suggested a counter-proposal, but their motion was not seconded.

A total of 59 delegates voted 'Yes', one delegate abstained, one vote was cast late and four votes were not cast, but nobody voted against the motion.

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