GAA to provide clarity on 2021 season by end of Janaury
Updated / Tuesday, 19 Jan 2021 11:52
It is likely that the commencement of the Allianz leagues – due for February 27 – will be pushed back towards the end of March at least
By Damian Lawlor
RTÉ GAA reporter
The GAA will provide an update on its plans for the season ahead at the end of the month.
It is still hoped that the league and championship competitions will be played, depending on public health advice.
It is likely, however, that the commencement of the Allianz leagues – due for February 27 – will be pushed back towards the end of March at least.
Again, this is all dependent on the existent number of Covid-19 cases and Government restrictions at that time.
There has been a push in recent weeks, from a financial perspective, to stage the club championships before the inter-county season, but, as things stand, there will be no change to the proposed 2021template.
If the national leagues do begin late March, the championship series would soon follow, culminating in mid-to-late August.
From there, if restrictions allowed, club championship activity could commence.
However, if the high numbers of Covid-19 cases persist the association will have to consider the fixtures template further. The leagues could be compacted, or the championship structure tweaked.
For now, it’s a case of monitoring the public health landscape and providing further clarification at the end of this month.
Meanwhile, Leinster GAA CEO Michael Reynolds has highlighted the negativity and criticism aimed at the province’s senior football championship in his annual report for 2020.
In the past number of years huge scrutiny has been placed on the amount of capital funding that Dublin GAA receives and the fact that they play a majority of their games at Croke Park.
Although not directly addressing Dublin’s dominance – they have won ten Leinster SFC titles on the trot and won this year’s three provincial games by a combined tally of 51 points – Reynolds pointed out that, with the exception of the Dubs, the rest of the Leinster series was extremely competitive.
“Other than the Dublin games, the rest of the Championship was evenly contested with one exception,” he wrote.
He called on “doom and gloom” merchants to stop taking fire and instead look to instigate change themselves.
“Few offer to seek election to County Committees in an effort to correct the errors as they see it,” he said.
“Society and certainly social media is more and more having a negative slant. At a time when everyone needs positivity it is unfortunate.
“It is amazing the many suggestions we receive throughout a year as to how we can do things differently or not at all.
“Some of the commentary is not based on facts or reality. Yet few offer to seek election to County Committees in an effort to correct the errors as they see it.
“At a time when everyone needs positivity it is unfortunate to have to contend with doom and gloom,’ Reynolds added.
And following a year full of turbulence and uncertainty, when GAA finances took a massive dent as a result of Covid-19, Reynolds confirmed there would be no movement on Leinster’s capital grant aid for the foreseeable future.
“The harsh reality is that this may be the situation for at least another 18 to 24 months,” he wrote.
“Given all of the difficulties we have already and are yet to face, it will not be practical to consider GAA grants for at least another two years.
“This in and of itself, may provide us with an opportunity to carry out a badly needed period of self-reflection.”
The Leinster CEO also called on the GAA to maintain their policy of finishing knock-out games on the day. He says it will guarantee “fixture certainty”.
“An opportunity was grasped – all knock-out games finish on the day. In normal circumstances, it would have been difficult to have such a revolution accepted and it is a revolution.
“Ultimately, fixture certainty and replays are incompatible. I hope that with the exception perhaps of All-Ireland senior finals (Tier 1) that all knockout games will finish on the day.”