Laois GAA will hold an emergency meeting of the County Board on Wednesday night to vote on proposals to scrap the relegation playoff in the Senior Football Championship for this year.
The unprecedented step comes on the back of a weekend of turmoil for Laois GAA, when it emerged the Laois SFC format is not within the rules of the GAA’s official guide.
Under rule 6.20.3 in the GAA’s Treoir Oifigiúl, club championships are permitted to have a Bye in Round 1 only, with permission needed from the GAA’s Central Council to award a Bye in any further rounds of the competition.
Crettyard were awarded a bye in Round 2 as part of the restructuring the Laois SFC to reduce the number of teams from 16 to 12 over a four year period, thus sparing them from the threat of relegation. However, Laois GAA Chairman Gerry Kavanagh confirmed to the Leinster Express this morning (Tuesday) that Laois GAA did not apply for permission to award that Bye.
Emergency meetings of the Laois CCC and County Executive took place on Monday night to discuss the query submitted by the clubs, and arising from that, it is proposed to scrap the relegation playoffs in this year’s championship. The rest of the competition would then proceed as planned from Round 3 onwards.
That decision would also spare Stradbally from relegation, as they were due to play the winners of the St Joseph’s v Arles-Kilcruise game.
Laois GAA now face an uncertain wait ahead of Wednesday night’s County Board meeting to see whether the clubs will agree to that compromise. As things stand, there would be no knock-on effect to the winners of the Laois SFC when it comes to playing in the Leinster Club Championship, as was initially feared. The Leinster Council have also confirmed this morning that the winners of the Laois SFC will proceed to the club championship as normal, and that a problem would only arise should a person or club decide to make an issue of the error.
While GAA rule 6.20.3 states permission is needed to award a Bye outside of Round 1 in a club championship, it does not state what any sanctions for failing to do so are.
The meeting is due to take place at 8pm on Wednesday night in the Laois GAA offices, and all clubs are invited to attend.