Annual Congress 2023: The Motions Explained:
By Cian O’Connell

The GAA’s Annual Congress takes place at Croke Park on Friday and Saturday.

A total of 62 motions will be debated and voted on by delegates at GAA headquarters.

The motions are comprised of 19 from the Central Competitions Control Committee, 17 from various GAA units, 14 from the Rules Advisory Committee, four from Provincial Councils, three from Central Council, two from the Sliotar-Hurley Workgroup, two from The Standing Committee on Playing Rules, and one from World GAA.

At the bottom of this article you can view and download the motions as they will appear before the delegates.

You can also download some useful documents to read alongside examining the motions – GAA Official Guide Parts 1 & 2, Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan’s Annual Report, and the GAA’s Financial Report.

All motions with the exception of Motions 11 and 35 require 60% of approval. The two proposals needing just simple majority – Motions 11 and 35 – are because they would represent two new rules.

Below is a simplified guide to the motions to be dealt with this weekend.

Motions 1 to 17 submitted by GAA Units

MOTION 1: The first motion on the Clár is to do with the composition of Special Congress when they are required. This proposal is to change the structure so that Special Congress is the same size delegates wise as a normal Annual Congress.

MOTION 2: A variety of clubs in a number of counties have submitted this motion. The current arrangement is that Central Council has a policy which governs age grades and counties, within that policy, are free to determine their own age grades. This removes the discretion of Central Council. It would allow counties to determine its own under age grades with the stipulation that U14, U16, and U18 competitions must take place. One further competition above U18 should also take place.

MOTION 3: Submitted by Parnells in Kerry, it is the same as Motion 2, but it also adds U12 to the list of competitions.

MOTION 4: Counties currently determine their own underage grades subject to Central Council Policy. This motion would allow counties to determine their own age grades removing the Central Council clause. It allows counties to determine their own juvenile grades.

MOTION 5: This motion is about player eligibility. Currently a player has to be 17 at the start of the year in order to play at adult level. This proposal allows counties to vary age limits according to their own requirements.

MOTION 6: At the moment a player has to be 17 to feature in adult competitions, but this motion is to increase the age to 18 for all counties.

MOTION 7: This motion proposes changing inter-county minor from U17 to U18.

MOTION 8: This motion slightly differs from Motion 7. To distinguish Motion 7 seeks to replace U17 with U18, while Motion 8 keeps U17 and adds U18.

MOTION 9: The motion is to replace U20 with U21 at inter-county level with a minimum age of 18. Restrictions on senior inter-county players fielding will remain in place.

MOTION 10: Wexford’s motion proposes staying with U20 age grades at inter-county level, however restrictions on senior players featuring is to be relaxed. Players can play at U20 and senior, but can only play for one of those teams in any seven day period.

MOTION 11: St Mary’s Rosslare’s motion wants all clubs to provide juvenile hurling to everyone from U7 to U10. Exceptions include any exclusively football club that can demonstrate that its U6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 players are afforded hurling at an exclusively hurling club or dual code club. Another exception is when a club, by sheer demographics, can demonstrate it doesn’t have the numbers to comply. This motion will only require simple majority approval.

MOTION 12: Kiladangan’s motion concerns club players regrading. A players grading is currently defined by the highest level of Championship they have featured at. This proposal adds one new exception where a player can come on as a substitute in a match once in a higher grade without losing his club grading.

MOTION 13: Burgess’ motion concerns Club Championship and how to separate teams on equal points. This proposal adds the proviso if any of the tied teams have offered or received a walkover that an average scoreline head to head totalled separately will be used to calculate how to rank the teams.

MOTION 14: Galway’s motion is about adding the Tribesmen to the Leinster or Munster Minor Hurling Championships.

MOTION 15: Wexford’s proposal is about increasing penalties for assault on match officials. Part Two intends to apply same penalties for team officials, who commit any type of an assault on a referee, umpire, linesman or sideline official.

MOTION 16: Motion 16 removes the cap of a 96 weeks suspension.

MOTION 17: This proposal seeks to amend that a walkover shall not constitute the next game in a competition when serving a suspension. Play-offs aren’t considered the same competition, but this changes it.

Motions 18 to 21 from Provincial Councils

MOTION 18: This motion is about insurance arrangements and injury fund. It applies the same status in rule to injury fund and insurance scheme. It establishes the authority and responsibility of Central Council to operate the scheme.

MOTION 19: This motion allows Kerry automatic to the Munster Senior Hurling Championship should they win the Joe McDonagh Cup. The play-off that currently exists in rule would go. The current arrangement has six counties in Leinster, five in Munster. This proposal is aimed at clarifying the future. There will be 11 teams between the two provincial championships, six in one and five in the other. Which province has six or five will be determined by the participating counties. Munster counties will hurl in Munster, the rest in Leinster.

The team finishing bottom in the six team round robin will be relegated to the Joe McDonagh Cup. The team that wins Tier Two will play in its home province if Munster, if not they play in Leinster.

MOTION 20: At present only teams involved in a game can lodge an objection regarding the validity of team line-ups or eligible players. This motion extends that a third party can also lodge an objection.

MOTION 21: This motion was deferred from last year. It looks at how behaviours might be corrected, not just punishment only. It also seeks to take some infractions from Category Four to Six so applicable suspensions go to 48 or 96 weeks. Some provisions are included where suspensions may be reduced if the player undertakes diversity training or where the player is a juvenile.

Motions 22 to 35 from The Rules Advisory Committee

MOTION 22: This proposal seeks to clear up the ambiguity of dates in relation to payment of membership. Only those who have paid membership on or before March 31 shall be eligible to vote at, nominate for, or seek election to the executive committee at any following general meeting of the club held up to and including the due date for payment of the annual club subscription in the following membership year.

MOTION 23: Presently there is a limit on the length of time a county officer can serve. This rule would be amended that if a member is elected as an officer of the county committee in term, 26 weeks or less before convention, that the time shall not be considered part of the five years’ period. Currently the case at national and provincial level, but not county.

MOTION 24: Presently counties have five days after convention to submit motions for Congress. This proposal is to define a set deadline for counties to send electronic transmission to the Director General on or before December 23. Motions from a provincial council shall be sent to the Director General on or before January 23.

MOTION 25: The term of membership of Central Council doesn’t co-incide with a Provincial Chairpersons term. This proposal clarifies a year’s term shall be from immediately after an Annual Congress to the conclusion of the next Annual Congress.

If a member is elected as a Representative on the Council ‘in term’, twenty-six weeks or less before the next Congress, that time served shall not be considered as part of the five years’ period.

MOTION 26: This proposal is intended to add a degree of flexibility to the decision making process. It seeks to enshrine into rule the capability for units to arrive at decisions by email.

MOTION 27: This motion is carried over from last year. It regards attachment to a ‘First Club’ and how disputes are dealt with the CCCC in counties will make decisions in accordance with rule and county bye laws.

MOTION 28: The eligibility for Junior inter-county football is redefined in this proposal. Central Council will be able to vary this on a periodic basis without having to resort back to the rule book.

MOTION 29: Regarding Club Championships and how teams on equal points are separated the current rule doesn’t specifically say there is a hierarchy. This amendment is to include the words ‘and in the order specified’ in the first paragraph after the words ‘by the following means. It is designed to bring consistency in the rule.

MOTION 30: This motion will allow a young person to be accompanied or represented by a parent or guardian. It means a young person doesn’t have to attend a disciplinary hearing.

MOTION 31: Presently the accumulation of black and yellow cards varies between Gaelic Football and hurling. In Gaelic Football it only applies to League and Championship in the one calendar year. In hurling it includes all competitions and the period is two calendar years. So there is a greater risk for a hurler to be suspended. Going forward this motion proposes both codes will be the same with only League and Championship used.

MOTION 32: Currently it isn’t possible sometimes to serve a suspension at the same level. For example if a player is promoted to a higher grade or advances through the age grades. The proposal is that a suspension is served at the closest equivalent possible with the level broadened as Championship or League, club or county.

MOTION 33: This motion defines the time limits that should apply for suspensions imposed by the executive committee of clubs. Where the executive committee decides to initiate disciplinary action and to propose a penalty which would apply outside of the club, the matter shall be transferred to the County Management Committee or the County Competitions Control Committee, as appropriate, for further processing.

MOTION 34: Relating to a circumstance where an objection that is lodged is deemed to be out of order, this provision permits that the decision can be arrived at by remote means. A meeting doesn’t have to be held.

MOTION 35: This concerns an ongoing project to restructure the official guide. A project is underway where constitutional and operational policies are to be redesigned. A Special Congress will be held in the middle of the year to reformat the Official Guide Part 1. Every rule will still be in place, but some will be relocated to a separate book of codes.

Motions 36 and 37 submitted by the Sliotar and Hurley Workgroup

MOTION 36: This proposal is that dissent would now include a player deciding not to use the approved match sliotar.

MOTION 37: Standards for hurleys would be applied. This proposal gives authority to Central Council to set and vary standards for a hurley.

Motions 38-56 submitted by Ard Chomhairle (CCCC/CHC/CAC)

MOTION 38: This motion changes the categorisation and applicable suspension for team officials, who interfere with a match official. This offence would now be eligible for a 12 week suspension.

MOTION 39: This motion changes the categorisation and applicable suspensions from one or two matches to four or eight weeks for abusive language or disruptive behaviour by a team official towards a match official.

MOTION 40: This motion adds eight and 16 weeks as possible suspensions for misconduct by team officials towards an opposing player.

MOTION 41: Presently there is ambiguity about what team officials can do when suspended. This motion clarifies that a team official cannot manage, direct, assist or communicate with their team in any way before or during the game.

MOTION 42: This motion defines what a time based suspension mean. In the case of a team official, this also includes managing, directing, assisting or communicating with their team in any way during the period of a time based suspension.

MOTION 43: Up to now the rule just referred to players, but this is extending the definition to team officials also.

MOTION 44: This proposal increases the maximum time based suspension to 240 weeks with the stipulation that a match based suspension, it has to be served within 96 weeks.

MOTION 45: This motion seeks to double all penalties in the case of team officials suspended following infractions at juvenile games.

MOTION 46: The rulebook currently sets out penalties for team officials and a player who plays while suspended. This proposal will include club/county officers being suspended too.

MOTION 47: This proposal is concerned with hearings and how they operate. If it is a Category V or VI a hearing takes place at provincial or central level for players. Now it will be the case for officials too, if passed.

MOTION 48: When a defending party requests a hearing, the Hearings Committee can double the originally proposed penalty, if unsuccessful and considered to have been frivolous or vexatious and not solely based on procedural or technical arguments.

MOTION 49: This motion will allow Central Council to define the parameters of the extent of clarification sought by a defending party.

MOTION 50: A Hearings Committee will have to issue a decision and provide a reason for its decision if an infraction is not proven.

MOTION 51: This motion proposes that a Hearings Committee remit a case back to the CCCC if they deem fit.

MOTION 52: This motion is about the composition of the CCCC, including the four provincial secretaries. It extends their authority for all matters, including disciplinary matters.

MOTION 53: This motion allows the chairperson to deploy at least three members of a Central Hearings Committee to conduct a hearing.

MOTION 54: Similar to Motion 53 with Rule 3.50 also set to be tweaked regarding the Central Appeals Committee.

MOTION 55: This motion establishes that a committee can decide that a meeting can be held electronically.

MOTION 56: For inter-county Championship matches team lists have to be submitted on a Thursday morning to the organising committee and then to a referee 40 minutes before the game. This proposal is aimed at giving flexibility regarding rules on a competition basis.

Motions 57 and 58 submitted by The Standing Committee on Playing Rules

MOTION 57: This proposal is seeking to make the throw-in a bit more orderly with players not involved to be outside the two 45 metre lines in hurling.

MOTION 58: In hurling and football if a player moves the posts a free or sideline has to be retaken. If a score was prevented the referee will award the score.

Motions 59-61 submitted by Central Council/World GAA

MOTION 59: This proposal is to combine the role of two existing committees. The motion is looking to combine the two entities and expand the brief of the newly established joint committee.

MOTION 60: This motion is about a person’s ‘First Club’ and it relates to a motion passed at Congress last year. A ‘First Club’ was redefined, but Central Council wants the original definition of a ‘First Club’ to be reinstated.

MOTION 61: This motion is about establishing a new demographics committee while also providing a county demographics officer.

Motion 62 submitted by World GAA

MOTION 62: On the theme of governance and standards a person found to have been involved in any financial irregularity in the Association be debarred from holding any elective office.