"It's not radical" - Pauric Duffy on changes to football championship

The proposals were released by headquarters on Thursday

Pauric Duffy, Director General of the GAA, has stressed that the new changes to the inter-county football championship, announced today, are a step in the right direction but are not "radical" by any stretch.

Speaking to Off the Ball's Dave McIntyre earlier, he said the counties have received the proposals and they will decide if they will go forward as a motion at the next central congress in February. He also outlined that they will most likely come to fruition for the 2018 All-Ireland championship.

"The core one (proposal) is the key one," said Duffy. "If that's passed, that you agree that at the last eight stage, you go into two groups of four, if that is passed, it will force certain a condensing of the fixtures."

He added that the current provincial championships restrict the changes which can be made. "I accept it's not radical," added Duffy, "but as I said in the document, once you agree to stick with the provincial championship, it's very, very difficult to come up with a system that meets your needs in terms of competitive games. I think it's a step forward though."

Referencing the competitive nature of this season's championship, he pointed to the success of the division 3 teams, noting that "we've had three in the last twelve, two of them in the last eight and Tipperary in the last four."

However, he highlighted the difficulty in helping the Division 4 teams, adding that he hopes to ring-fence a certain amount to help develop the game in those eight counties: "It's a genuine attempt to raise the standard there, but you have to accept that no matter what system you bring in, everybody's not going to be equal."  

The current GAA TV deals are also currently up for negotiation, and Duffy sees little reason why there will be any difficulty facilitating any changes to fixture schedules if they are made midway through the next deal.

"It's not for me to speak for the TV companies but I can't see any negative in it. It won't affect the number of games, as we've agreed we'll stick with the same number of games. I think this will simply offer more competitive games between the top teams," he said.