GAA issues invitation to Sliotar suppliers
By John Harrington
The GAA Sliotar Work Group has issued an invitation to suppliers to become ‘approved GAA Sliotar suppliers’ on the basis of compliance with the official Sliotar specification and ethical production criteria.
New specifications for the official Sliotar were passed at GAA Congress earlier this year.
The diameter of the Sliotar - not including the rim (rib) - shall be between 69mm and 72mm.
The mass of the Sliotar shall be between 110 and 116 grams.
The rim (rib) height shall be between 1.8mm and 2.6mm
The rim (rib) width shall be between 3.6 mm and 5.4mm.
The thickness of the leather (chrome or synthetic) cover shall be between 1.8mm. and 2.7mm. and shall not be laminated with a coating greater than 0.15mm.
Sliotars will only be approved for use based on compliance with standards and tests as set out by Central Council so official GAA sliotar manufacturers must now reapply for licensing to satisfy those defined dimensions of the sliotar.
When the GAA undertook extensive testing of sliotars supplied by 11 official manufacturers in 2021, the majority of them failed the Coefficient of Restitution test, which basically tests the ‘liveliness’ of the ball and goes a long way to determining how far it can be struck.
In the majority of these cases the Coefficient of Restitution of these sliotars was too high.
Regular testing of sliotars will now take place to ensure they satisfy the newly defined dimensions of an official GAA sliotar.
In March this year the GAA Sliotar Workgroup also launched the Smart Sliotar which is currently being used in the O'Neills.com U-20 hurling championships.
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 also seeks to address illegal use of the official GAA logo and meets ethical production and supply chain practices 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.
To ensure that only Smart Sliotars are used in this year’s O'Neills U-20 hurling championships, sliotar bins are located beside both goal-posts and at other areas around the pitch and match officials check the sliotars before each match.
All official GAA sliotar manufacturers were invited to produce Smart Sliotars with the embedded chip, but so far only two have done so, O’Neills and Greenfields (PDMR).
The hope is that other sliotar manufacturers will opt to do so in the future.
Suppliers which are currently seeking approved Sliotar supplier status are requested to contact Pat Daly in Croke Park.
His contact information is as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org