GAA to debate changes to hurling and Hawk Eye plan

GAA Congress to to consider introducing Hawk Eye technology

The use of Hawk Eye, changes to the Hurling Championship and the opening up of GAA grounds for a Rugby World Cup bid will all be considered at the next GAA Congress in Derry.

All told, 73 motions will be up for discussion - if passed, the plan to introduce Hawk Eye technology would come into force at Croke Park on the June Bank Holiday weekend.

Under the plan, the use of Hawk Eye would be initiated by the referee if there was confusion over the scoring of a point. It is not proposed to introduce the system for goal incidents.

The recommendations from the Football Review Committee will under come under the spotlight at Congress, as well as a possible new structure for the hurling championship.

The hurling proposal concerns reducing the number of teams which can compete in hurling's top level competition. The plan suggests reducing the number of teams fighting for the Liam MacCarthy Cup to 15 in 2014 and 13 by 2016.

If passed, there would be no changes to the Munster championship, but only five teams would be guaranteed a place in Leinster - with an initial qualifying group between Laois, Antrim, Carlow, Westmeath and London.

There would also be relegation to the Christy Ring Cup for the bottom-ranked team in the Championship.

However, it is also proposed that there be a route for teams to progress from the the lower level competitions such as the Christy Ring Cup into the Hurling Championship proper.

The plan envisages eight teams in the Ring and Rackard Cups, and four teams in the Meagher Cup, by 2016 - with a 'win your way up' policy ensuring progress at all levels of senior hurling. 

The issue of a six-day turnaround for beaten provincial finalists has prompted another proposal to be considered by Congress.

It is felt that teams which had been defeated in their provincial final were put at a disadvantage when sometimes required to play their qualifier match within six days. The proposal states that such a move would give counties greater certainty around championship dates and thus facilitate the playing of club fixtures.

And with a possible Irish bid for the Rugby World Cup on the cards - another proposal being considered is the opening up of GAA grounds for the hosting of tournament matches.

A number of stadiums, including Croke Park, would be made available in 2023 or 2027 if the motion was passed.

There are a total of 73 proposals to be discussed this year - here are some of the other notable motions:

17: A player who refuses to release the ball after conceding a foul would see the ball moved 30m forwards (currently 13m).

20 Mark to be introduced. Mark is made if player catches the ball cleanly on or beyond the 45m line.

21: Clean pick-up in football. A player may pick the ball off the ground if they are in an upright position, with at least one foot on the ground. A player may also pass the ball or score with the hand when lying on the ground.

24: Public clock to be used in all grounds for provincial and All-Ireland series matches, with end of the game signalled by a hooter.

25: All Club matches to be 70 minutes long.

27: Additional sponsorship/branding to be allowed on inter-county jerseys.

49: All teams to be named four days in advance of a Senior Championship game. (Midday Wednesday for a Sunday game).

54: Stronger penalties for racism and sectarianism, with anyone deemed to have offended subject to a minimum of eight weeks suspension.

60: All hurlers must remove their helmets during the National Anthem.

65: US clubs to be allowed use any player with a valid J1 visa as long as an official sanction has been granted. US clubs to be allowed a maximum of 10 sanctioned players in football and 12 in the case of hurling.

68: Players should be unavailable for Club matches for 20 days before an All-Ireland final and seven days before any other inter-county matches.

71: The All Ireland Football final should be played on the Second Sunday in September with the Hurling Final played two weeks earlier.