An additional eight games would be played under the new format
The GAA have announced their plans to restructure the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.
Under the new proposals, eight extra games will be played in the Championship. These will come at the quarter-final stages, where the four provincial winners will join the four qualifiers in two round-robin groups. The top-two from each group will advance to the semi-finals.
Under the new proposals, the All-Ireland semi-finals will now take place on the same weekend. The GAA say the reasoning is to allow both winning teams the same time to prepare for the final.
The new format (if accepted) would work as follows:
Knock-out format as at present.
ALL-IRELAND QUALIFIER SERIES
Round 1: Sixteen teams that do not qualify for provincial semi-finals
Round 2: Eight round 1 winners play eight defeated provincial semi-finalists
Round 3: Eight round 2 winners play each other on an open-draw basis
Round 4: Four round 3 winners play four provincial runners-up
(i) A Division 3 or 4 team drawn against a Division 1 or 2 team in rounds one, two or three of the qualifiers will be granted an automatic home-venue advantage.
(ii) The format of ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides to the qualifier draw will be ended.
The current quarter-final stage of the championship to be replaced by a Group Stage, contested by the four provincial champions and the four round 4 qualifier winners.
The group stage will be organised on a league basis with two groups of four teams, with each team playing the other three teams once.
After the group stage is completed the top two teams in each group will progress to the All-Ireland semi-final with the Group 1 winner playing the Group 2 runner-up and the Group 2 winner playing the Group 1 runner-up
Order of fixtures in both groups
Team 1 v Team 2. Croke Park
Team 3 v Team 4. Croke Park
Team 1 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for provincial champions.
Team 2 V Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for provincial champions.
Team 1 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for Team 3 or 4.
Team 2 v Team 3 or 4. Home advantage for Team 3 or 4.
Group 1 winner v Group 2 runner-up
Group 2 winner v Group 1 runner-up
(to be played over one weekend)
The format has still to be accepted, but does not go as far as many people had expected. You can read the proposal in full here.