Special Congress pass two-tier championship in historic vote
Last Updated: 21/10/19 10:45am
The GAA has voted in favour of a two-tier championship for 2020.
In a historic move, the congregation of delegates at the Special Congress in Cork approved the motion.
Despite strong opposition and fervent debate in recent months, the time for talking was over, and the ballot was cast on Leeside with 75.5 per cent of delegates voting in favour of the new competition.
What will the new championship look like?
Under the new format, the provincial championships will be played out as usual.
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However, the All-Ireland Qualifiers will only be open to teams from National League Divisions 1 and 2 and any Division 3 or 4 teams who qualify for their provincial final.
Therefore, there will only be two full rounds of All-Ireland Qualifiers, as opposed to four. An additional preliminary round is provided for, however, in years where more than eight teams are eligible to participate in Round 1.
The second-tier competition will be played on a straight knockout basis, for teams from Division 3 and 4 of the National League that do not reach their provincial final.
Lots on the line in the 2020 National League
Given that teams were not aware of the ramifications of their finishing positions in the 2019 National League campaign, it was decided that the cut-off point between the 'A' and 'B' championships will be determined by the finishing league standings in the springtime.
Therefore, the promotion scrap in Division 3, along with the relegation battle in the second tier will take on added intrigue.
Tipperary and Cork were relegated from the second tier of the league in 2019, and raised concerns, given the ramifications were unclear at the time.
Nonetheless, the Munster duo will get a chance to cement their top-tier status for next season.
Experimental rules get the nod
Meanwhile, the Special Congress has approved three new rules, which were trialled earlier this year. The 'advanced mark', the sin bin as well as the 20m kickout have all been ratified.