Croke Park will go virtual on Friday when a special congress will be held online in a bid to sort out this season’s football and hurling championships as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to destroy the GAA calendar, and its bottom line.
All but resigned to losing the remainder of the National League fixtures with Ireland in lockdown until May 5 at the earliest, and the government warning about social distancing rules around sport extending longer than that, the GAA will look for solutions at Friday’s online congress.
Each county will send one delegate to the meeting via conference call with a vote expected to sanction special powers for an emergency committee in relation to the 2020 Championship structures.
The provincial football championships were due to have started on May 9, but proposals are already on the table for this year’s football and hurling championships to be knockout with no round-robin games in either code.
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Cork hurling boss Kieran Kingston has told the Evening Echo newspaper on Leeside that the scheduled Championship format is all but impossible to stage given the current coronavirus crisis and the uncertainty about the lockdown.
The GAA has said has all provincial matches scheduled for the month of May have been postponed, adding that the 2020 inter-county championships in hurling and football are unlikely to begin before the month of July | Read more: https://t.co/Jt3eImmCUj pic.twitter.com/IHxcmmN0Ia— RTÉ News (@rtenews) April 14, 2020
“We need to know what is happening,” said Kingston. “The one thing that would be helpful to guys that are training on their own and you’re asking them to be self-motivated, they need some sort of a deadline.
“You’d be hopeful that there will be some sort of Championship there, that it will take place. May won’t happen, so tell us May won’t happen. Say that our proposal is ‘X,’ it might change but at the moment that’s the proposal.”
Meanwhile, GAA Director-General Tom Ryan says that the organization is facing a multi-million euro loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s already having a really serious impact on things. Central Council-wise, there is probably about €60 million at risk. All we have is matches,” Ryan said during an interview with Sport for Business Leadership.
“That is all we have. We don’t have an international organization that can come to our aid. Everything that we generate is generated pretty much on the island of Ireland and it’s all generated within probably a two or three-month period of the year which is the period that could be lost to us income-wise. Yeah, we will suffer.’’
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