Special Congress 2023: The Motions explained
By John Harrington
A GAA Special Congress will take place in Croke Park on Saturday, September 30th.
A total of 11 motions will be debated and voted on by delegates at GAA headquarters.
Perhaps the most significant one is Motion 9, which proposes to achieve and maintain a gender balance in the membership of the Central Council Management Committee (Coiste Bainistí) of a minimum of 40 per cent female or male representation.
At the bottom of this article you can view and download the motions as they will appear before the delegates. You can also view and download The GAA’s Official Guide Parts 1 & 2.
This motion proposes to abolish the Liam MacCarthy Cup All-Ireland SHC Preliminary Quarter-Finals. If it is passed, the Joe McDonagh Cup champions and runners-up would no longer play the third-placed Munster and Leinster SHC teams in the Preliminary Quarter-Finals.
Instead, the third-placed teams in Munster and Leinster would advance directly to the All-Ireland SHC Quarter-Finals where they would play the beaten Leinster and Munster provincial finalists. The season for the Joe McDonagh Cup winners and runners up would end with the Final of that competition. This motion, if passed, would come into effect for the 2024 season.
This motion concerns the format of the Joe McDonagh Cup and would only be voted on if Motion 1 is passed. This motion proposes to introduce a semi-final in the Joe McDonagh Cup between the teams that finish in second and third place of the round-robin group stage of the competition. The table-toppers would proceed directly to the Final, and the teams that finish in second and third would play one another in a semi-final with the second-placed team having home advantage. This would help reduce the likelihood of dead rubber games in the final round of the Joe McDonagh Cup and a scenario where a team has already qualified for the final and doesn’t put their strongest team out. This motion, if passed, would come into effect for the 2024 season.
This motion concerns the All-Ireland Minor Football Championships and proposes that, after the round-robin provincial championships, counties would compete in tiered knock-out competitions.
Tier 1 would see the provincial winners play the provincial runners-up in the All-Ireland Quarter-Final with the pairings determined on a provincial rota system initially determined by Central Council. Provincial winners couldn’t play the team they defeated in their own provincial final.
A provincial rota system would also apply for the All-Ireland semi-finals. If a provincial championship winning team is defeated in its quarter-final, the team that defeats them takes their place in the provincial rota semi-final draw.
This motion allows for additional tiered competitions being organised for counties outside of the provincial winners and runners-up in order to provide more games and additional opportunities for those counties. The competition structures and regulations would be approved annually by Central Council based on proposals from the Development Competitions Control Committee.
This motion, if passed, would come into effect for the 2024 season.
This motion concerns the All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship. Galway and Ulster teams as agreed by the Ulster and Leinster Councils would compete in the Leinster Minor Championship.
The All-Ireland series would see the Munster and Leinster winners advance directly to the All-Ireland semi-finals where they couldn’t meet the team they beat in the provincial finals.
The third and fourth placed teams in Munster and Leinster would contest the preliminary quarter-finals with the two Munster teams playing the two Leinster teams. The winners of those matches would advance to the All-Ireland quarter-finals where they would play the beaten Munster and Leinster finalists with the draw subject to the avoidance of repeat pairings where possible.
The All-Ireland ‘B’ and ‘C’ Hurling Championships shall be organised on the basis of recommendations of the Development Competitions Control Committee, as approved by Central Council.
This motion, if passed, would come into effect for the 2024 season.
This is an enabling motion that, if passed, would allow all provincial councils to organise round-robin championships at U-20 level within the province which is already allowed at minor level. The design of those U-20 Round Robin provincial championships would be up to each individual province.
This motion relates to the latest date by which the All-Ireland senior finals must be played. Currently the rule states the All-Ireland senior finals shall be played on or before the 29th Sunday in the calendar year. But in both 2022 and 2023 the All-Ireland Finals were played on the 30th Sunday of the year which required a deviation from Central Council. Essentially this motion seeks to make that arrangement permanent by stating that the All-Ireland Finals be played on or before the last Sunday in July rather than the 29th Sunday.
Motion 7 seeks to make it mandatory for a County’s Central Council delegate to also be a member of the county’s management committee. This motion requires a 60 per cent majority and, if passed, would take effect one month after Congress.
Currently a Central Council delegate can only serve a single five-year term. This motion, if passed, would allow the delegate to hold that position again as long as it wasn’t for consecutive term. So, a five-year period would have to have elapsed before that person could serve another term as a Central Council delegate.
Motion 9 seeks to achieve and maintain a gender balance in the membership of the Central Council Management Committee (Coiste Bainistí) of a minimum of 40 per cent female or male representation.
Currently three of Coiste Bainistí’s 19 board members are female which equates to 16%. This motion proposes a three-stage process towards gender balance by initially increasing the size of Coiste Bainistí to 21 members in 2024 of which nine would be female.
The Motion proposes that, from 2027 onwards, a 16-person Coiste Bainistí would include a minimum of seven females. As a miniumum, three of the four provincial representatives, one of the two independent appointees, one of the two representatives of Congress, as well as the LGFA and Camogie representatives must all be women from Congress 2027 onwards.
The proposal is informed by the Voluntary Sporting Governance Code and by Government ambitions for board diversity for Sporting National Governing Bodies.
Motion 10 proposes to reformat the GAA’s Official Guide. Part 1 would contain the Association’s fundamental aims and set out its structure and would continue to be the exclusive responsibility of Congress. Part 2 of the Official Guide would contain the playing rules which would also remain the exclusive responsibility of Congress.
The proposed reformatting of the Official Guide would mean that rules that relate to procedures and policies would become the responsibility of Central Council rather than Congress and be known as ‘Codes’. Amendments of Codes would be deal with at the annual Central Council meeting in March but they could also be amended at any time of the year with the consent of Coiste Bainistí.
It is also proposed to organise the documentation so that there would be far greater use of technology and online versions with hyper-links so that the official guide and codes would be easily available online. Gender-neutral language will be used throughout the reformatted Official Guides and Codes.
MOTION 11: This motion proposes that a player must have celebrated his 17th birthday prior toJanuary 1st of the Championship year in order to be eligible to play at adult club level. This motion also gives a county committee the flexibility to increase this minimum eligibility age for a specific competitions or circumstances through a competition regulation.