GPA call for change to GAA championship structure

Dessie Farrell
Dessie Farrell

Gaelic Players Association CEO Dessie Farrell has called for serious reform of the Gelic football championship structure.

Speaking to at the announcement of a partnership between the GPA and the charity Childhood Cancer Foundation, Farrell was very clear that the time for change had come.

"I just firmly believe the championship structure needs to change," Farrell said.

"It's our premier competition and I don't think we are maximising the potential within it. Hurling is in a really strong place at the minute, football is lagging way behind.

"There are a combination of things, the tactical evolution of the game is problematic to some degree

"But definitely the competition structures themselves are a huge restriction to where the game of football and the championship could be at. It's long overdue that a serious debate takes place."

While Farrell didn't outline exactly what system he would like, he was very definite in the desire to break up the provincial structure.

"My personal view again is that any changes that come about that still retain the provincial structure are only moving the deck chairs around. It's time to grab the nettle and make a serious change and we're going to canvass our players in relation to this.

"We'll be doing that within the next fortnight. We've already done some of it in the past two years."

And Farrell was certain that the players too wanted a new set up.

"There's definitely an appetite for change.

"We're going to bring forward a particular model that we've been working on ourselves and run that by our own membership first and as I indicated at Central Council the last day, we're going to bring a proposal forward to Central Council.

"The two-tier one is interesting. I think it depends on what proposal you put forward. The Tommy Murphy Cup, on its own and in the way it was run previously, I don't think there is a massive appetite for that.

"Could you introduce a second competition whereby both finals were played on the one day here on the third week in September? I think that would hold more appeal.

"But my sense is - and talking to more and more players - that the provincial system is the major stumbling block and we need to overcome that in some way. And I know Munster hurling has been referred to but we're not asking that. This is a football issue as far as I'm concerned."