BREAKING: SFC format rescinded, new 12 team championship to begin this weekend

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The 2014 Laois SFC has been recinded, with a 12 team championship, compromised of the 12 teams currently in Round 3 or further, and excluding the three relegated teams, due to take place from this weekend.

The decision was passed by a two-thirds majority (33 of the 46 people present entitled to vote) at an emergency meeting of the Laois County Board tonight. The new format was agreed upon after assurances were sought from the three clubs currently in the relegation playoff - Stradbally, St Joseph’s and Arles-Kilcruise - that they would not have any problem with the championship proceeding without them. All clubs confirmed they would not.

As a result, the four games down for decision this weekend, in what had been deemed Round 3, will now be called Round 1. Four teams - Portlaoise, Arles-Killeen, O’Dempsey’s and Graiguecullen - will have a bye into the quarter-finals.

The decision came after two meetings in Laois GAA offices on Wednesday night. Before the full meeting of the county board got underway at around 8pm, the county’s CCC, chaired by Peter O’Neill, met with delegatesa from the 12 clubs still in the old format of the championship. It was the desire of the clubs present at that meeting that the championship continue this week as planned and in the old format, and that the relegation playoffs go ahead.

However, a proposal was put to the full meeting of the board that the format, which has been outlined above, would be the best option to proceed, and would result in the new championship being legal under rule.

Delegates who attended both meetings complained that this option was not discussed with the 12 senior clubs in the earlier meeting, and that they had not been told that was an option.

The same format will apply to the Laois JFC, which was also organised without derogation of rule 6.20.3 from Croke Park, and instead of the proposed semi-finals this weekend, those games will also be deemed Round 1.

A query relating to suspensions was also put the Executive, and delegates were told that suspensions picked up in the previous format of the championship will stand in the new format, despite the championship having been rescinded.

We will have more on this story tomorrow and in next Tuesday’s paper.




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