Yellow sliotar to be used for all games from minor up in 2024:
By John Harrington
The GAA has confirmed that from January 1st, 2024, all Hurling games at all levels from Minor (u-17) and above should use a Fluorescent Yellow/High-Vis Match Sliotar from a GAA Sliotar Licensee.
The decision to transition from white to Fluorescent Yellow/High-Vis sliotars began in 2020 with that year’s Liam McCarthy Cup and was made for the benefit of both players and spectators alike and based on clear scientific evidence.
To better inform the public on the specifications of Match Sliotars and SMART sliotars, the GAA has created a website link that includes sliotar information for all GAA members.
Information on GAA Sliotar Licensees that includes a list of all licensees can be accessed.
All GAA-approved Sliotars provided by Licensees undergo regular lab and field testing to ensure compliance with specifications as listed in the GAA Official Guide and to maintain the integrity of the game.
All Sliotar tests are carried out independently via Dublin City University.
Field tests have been carried out at the National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown and the University of Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome.
A ‘Swatch Card’ is used to establish the level of compliance with the Fluorescent Yellow/High-Vis colour.
Once again, in 2024 the GAA SMART sliotar will be used in Official Games at Senior, U-20, and Minor (U-17) inter-county level.
The SMART Sliotar project aims to ensure that approved Sliotar suppliers adhere to the Sliotar specification set out in the GAA Official Guide and that approved Sliotars perform on a consistent basis.
In an effective regulatory context, it seeks to address illegal use of the official GAA logo and to ensure that Sliotars meet ethical production and supply chain standards as determined by the World Federation of the Sports Goods Industry (WFSGI).
A tag or chip is embedded in the core of the SMART Sliotar which can be read by an app on a mobile phone and can be verified as being an official match ball. Furthermore, the Sliotar chip – which is the same type of technology that is used in mobile phone payments – cannot be replicated with the result Sliotar counterfeiting is also addressed.
Two SMART Sliotar Licensees – Green Fields and O’Neills – will continue to provide SMART Sliotars for use in 2024 at Senior and U20 level. The SMART Sliotar will also be used in Minor (U17) Inter-County competitions in 2024.
Three additional SMART Sliotar Licensees have now passed the Sliotar specification tests and will also provide SMART Sliotars for use in the U-20 and minor championships. These are Bourke Sports, Cummins Sports, and O’Meara Sliotars.
These additional licenses be approved for use in the Senior Inter-County competitions from 2025 should they continue to meet performance and specification standards in the interim.
All Sliotar Licensees will have to renew their WFSGI Pledge with the WFSGI annually, and all Sliotars produced by Licensees will include a new Sliotar Licensee logo.
Match Sliotars are all other sliotars, other than Smart Sliotars, which are produced by GAA Licensees, meet GAA specifications and can be used in official games, outside of inter-county games. All Match Sliotar Licensees have begun the phasing-out process of the production of white-coloured sliotars and commenced the production of Fluorescent Yellow/High-Vis sliotars instead which feature the new logo. Official Match Sliotars should only by purchased from approved licensees.
This considerable body of work has been overseen by the Hurley & Sliotar Regulation Group which has met on 67 occasions since its inception in June 2021 having been appointed by Uachtarán Larry McCarthy.
Since then, the Work Group’s role has evolved and includes responsibility for a number of hurley-related matters.
10 members have contributed to the Work Group in that time period – Ned Quinn (Chairperson, Cill Chainnigh), Brendan Cummins (Tiobraid Árann), Eoin McDonagh (Gaillimh), Terry Reilly (Aontroim), Bob Ryan (Corcaigh), Louise Conlon, James Heffernan, Lizzy Broderick (Camogie), Pat Daly, and Eoghan Tuohey (GAA).
“The group set out to develop a ‘Mission’, ‘Vision’ and ‘Ambition’ in terms of delivering on its key remit,” says GAA Player Welfare Manager and Hurley & Sliotar Regulation Group member, Eoghan Tuohey.
“This involved the development of a regulatory framework, which would serve to maintain the integrity of the game of Hurling, the Association’s good name and ensure that fair play is the prevailing norm.
“This would involve the introduction of a Sliotar Licensing System based on compliance with the Sliotar specifications set out in rule, ethical production, supply chain standards and financial probity. It also sought to ensure that quality Smart and Match sliotars are available at a competitive price point.
“Finally, the Work Group also ensured, on foot of Congress Motions, that the relevant rules of the Association are fit for purpose and applied on a consistent basis.”
The Work Group are now setting their sights on regulating the Size 4 and Go Games (Size 1 & 2) Sliotars and will provide an update on this area in the coming months.
· Further information available regarding GAA Sliotar licensee queries from GAA Partnerships Manager, Dónal Marah – firstname.lastname@example.org
· Further information available regarding GAA Smart and Match Sliotars from GAA Player Welfare Manager, Eoghan Tuohey – email@example.com