Annual Congress 2018: The Motions explained:
By John Harrington

This Friday and Saturday (February 23 and 24) the GAA’s Annual Congress will take place in Croke Park.

A total of 40 motions will go before the delegates to be debated and voted on.

Three of those motions have been put forward by Central Council, 15 by the Rules Advisory Committee, and 22 from GAA units.

Here are some useful documents to read alongside examining the motions:

Ard Stiúrthóir Páraic Duffy’s 2017 Annual Report

2017 Financial Report

GAA Official Guide Part 1

GAA Official Guide Part 2

And below is a simplified guide to the motions to be dealt with in Croke Park this weekend.


Motions 1 to 3 have been submitted by Ard Chomhairle

Motion 1: This motion seeks to prohibit the sponsorship of any GAA competition, team, playing gear or facility by a betting company

Motion 2: This motion proposes that sanctions for players looking to play in Canadian Board, USGAA Board, or New York Board areas must be granted by June 15th at the latest. Previously the cut-off date was July 1 for the Canadian and USGAA Boards, and July 20 for the New York GAA Board.

Motion 3: The third motion from Central Council proposes to remove the section of Rule 1.18 which currently allows a sponsor’s brand name to be displayed on jackets, tops, jerseys, and kit-bags of match officials

Motions 4 to 18 have been submitted by the Rules Advisory Committee motions

Motion 4: Motion 4 is in three parts and deals with GAA membership rules. Essentially it seeks to bring the GAA’s membership rules into line with the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Motion 5: This motion also deals with GAA membership. Only a full member who has paid their annual club subscription for a membership year by the due date set by the Executive Committee of the Club (which shall be prior to March 31st) is eligible to vote at, nominate for, or seek election to the Executive Committee at any following General meeting of the club held prior to the due date for payment of the annual Club subscription in the following membership year.

Motion 6: This motion proposes that instead of electing a Development Officer at County Convention, the County Committee will instead appoint someone to the position.

Motion 7: This motion seeks to give Divisional teams the same rights to appeal and objection as Club teams.

Motion 8: This is a purely technical motion that seeks to give the GAA’s Director General and Secretary of any GAA Unit the right to sign a document on behalf of the GAA in the ordinary course of business of the Association or which has been approved by the Management Committee.

Motion 9: This motion deals with transfers and seeks to change the word ‘member’ to ‘player’ in the Rule Book. This is simply to clarify that an ordinary club member doesn’t need a transfer to join another club, but a player does.

Motion 10: This motion proposes giving individual counties the autonomy to determine its underage grades for club competitions from U-21 down to U-11 subject to the following eligibility years’ spans.

U-21: A five years span; U-20 down to U-14/13 – a four years’ span; U-12/11 – a three years’ span. So, for example, for a player to be eligible for the U-16 grade he must have celebrated his 12th birthday prior to January 1st or his 16th birthday on or after January 1st of the Championship year.

Motion 11: This is a purely technical motion that deals with the grading of clubs and players.

Motion 12: Currently under rule, if a county fails to fulfil a Championship fixture they face a 48-week suspension. This motion seeks to replace that 48-week suspension with the lesser penalty of disqualification from the championship and a fine.

Motion 13: This motion proposes to give a one-match ban to any player guilty of the following infraction – “Minor physical interference (e.g. laying a hand on, pushing, pulling, or jostling) with an opposition team official either on or off the field of play”.

Motion 14: This motion seeks to clarify the circumstances under which the Competitions Control Committee can commence disciplinary action. It proposes they may only do so if a referee states he has not adjudicated on an alleged infraction occurring on or in the vicinity of the Field of Play immediately before, during or after a Game.

Motion 15: Another purely technical motion. This one deals with access to official records and documents.

Motion 16: This motion deals with the penalty for a GAA member found to have given false evidence at a disciplinary or related hearing, thereby discrediting the Association. It gives the Competitions Control Committee the power to suspend someone if, after the fact, they have been discovered to have given false evidence in a disciplinary hearing.

Motion 17: This motion deals with the penalty for players who are found to have played illegally. If, for example, it has not been discovered for some time after the fact that a player has played illegally, then their suspension for doing so will be applied from the last game they played rather than from the date of when they played illegally.

Motion 18: This motion deals with Juvenile suspensions and proposes that the penalty for a Juvenile player found guilty of playing while under suspension shall be a minimum of a 4-week suspension.

Motions 19 to 40 have been submitted by counties/provinces

Motion 19: This motion comes from the Wolfe Tones club in Clare and proposes that you must be a fully paid up member of a GAA Club to be eligible to be a manager, coach, or selector of any of the Club’s teams.

Motion 20: This motion comes from the Leinster Council and effectively makes three different proposals.

(1): That a Club’s representative on the County Committee be either its Club Chairman, Club Secretary, or Club Treasurer.

(2): That one of a County’s two representative on the Provincial Council be that County’s Chairman or Secretary.

(3): That a County’s representative on Central Council be either the County Chairman or County Secretary, but not a currently member of the relevant Provincial Council.

Motion 21: This Motion comes from the Kildavin/Clonegal GAA club in Carlow. It proposes that a minimum of two-thirds of the voting members of a County Committee shall be representatives of clubs.

Motion 22: This motion from Wexford club St. Mary’s Rosslare proposes that each delegate’s vote on all motions at Annual or Special Congress shall be recorded and published in the minutes thereafter.

Motion 23: This motion from Tang GAA club in Westmeath proposes that a three-fifths majority be required to rescind any decision taken at a duly convened meeting of any Committee or Council of the Association at a subsequent meeting. Currently a two-thirds majority is required.

Motion 24: This motion from Britain GAA proposes to give GAA Central Council the power to authorise the use of all GAA property located outside of Ireland and which are owned or controlled by units of the Association for games other than those controlled by the Association.

Motion 25: This motion from the Mullinalaghta Naomh Columba’s Club in Longford is quite technical in nature and deals with the rights of a player of a club without an U-21, minor, or younger grade team to play with another team or club.

Motion 26: This motion from the Bray Emmets club in Wicklow deals with special eligibility players. The motion effectively proposes that only counties competing in the Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher Cups can avail of these players.

Motion 27: This is a purely technical motion from USGAA that deals with eligibility requirements for playing in the USA.

Motion 28: This Motion from the London County Board seeks to give a player who’s ‘First Club’ is a Britain GAA club the right to a sanction to play in the USA/Canada/Australasia/Europe. Currently only Ireland-based players have that right.

Motion 29: This joint-motion from Abbeylara in Longford and St. Abban’s Adamstown in Wexford deals with the issue of player eligibility at U-20 level in Gaelic Football. They are proposing that only players who play a senior championship match for their county will be ineligible to play for the county U-20 footballers. Currently a player is only excluded from U-20 duty if he is named in the 26-man panel for a Senior Football Championship match.

Motion 30: This motion from the Offaly County Board proposes to replace the All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship with an All-Ireland U-20 Hurling Championship.

Motion 31: The Tipperary club Kilsheelan-Kilcash are also proposing to replace the All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship with an All-Ireland U-20 Hurling Championship, but they want it to be limited to players who have not been previously part of an inter-county senior championship panel.

Motion 32: This motion from the Duleek-Bellewstown Club in Meath proposes giving County Committee’s the right to pass a bye-law to make provision for a player to be regraded during that Championship year.

Motion 33: This motion from the Raharney club in Westmeath is in two parts.

(1): They propose that players who are not included in a 26-man inter-county senior panel before a National League or Championship match be made available to their clubs from the Thursday before those matches.

(2): They propose that County panel collective training sessions or inter-county challenge games, in the same code, should not be permitted to take place on the same day as an official club league or championship match.

The result of each vote on every motion is quickly apparent at GAA Annual Congress.
The result of each vote on every motion is quickly apparent at GAA Annual Congress.
Motion 34: This motion from Derry club Doire Colmcille proposes that the All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final group stage be finished no later than the second Sunday in July.

Motion 35: This motion comes from the GPA and proposes that venues for All Finals, Semi-Finals, and Relegation Play-offs in Tier 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship be determined by the Central Competitions Control Committee. Currently, under rule, Group winners have home advantage for semi-finals.

Motion 36: This motion from the Cooraclare club in Clare proposes restructuring the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship on a national round-robin basis with teams seeded into eight groups of four.

Motion 37: This motion comes from the Ulster Council and proposes a minor change to the scheduling of the All-Ireland U-20 Football Championship. Currently the rule is that the All-Ireland U-20 Championship must be played in the months June, July, and August. The Ulster Council are proposing instead that it shall commence no earlier than the last weekend in May and be concluded by the end of August.

Motion 38: This motion comes from the Derry County Board and relates to the penalty for a club not fulfilling a fixture. Currently the fine for a club not fulfilling a fixture is €100.00. Derry are proposing that a county committee should have the option of imposing an alternative penalty “specified in the Competitions Regulations of the Committee-in-Charge”, such as deducting League points.

Motion 39: Currently under playing rules, ‘contributing to a melee’ is regarded as a Category 3 offence which incurs the minimum penalty of a one-match suspension. This motion from the Newport GAA club in Tipperary seeks to define exactly what ‘a melee’ is in relation to GAA disciplinary matters. They are proposing that ‘a melee’ be defined as an incident involving a minimum of five players.

Motion 40: This motion from the Down County Board proposes to delete the rule that currently prevents a player who was sent off in a Final from participating in the after-match presentation ceremony.