The Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town was the venue for the 2017 LGFA Annual Congress that took place last weekend.
Congress saw 2 vital days of discussion and decisions that will have a direct impact on the future of Ladies Gaelic Football.
The Congress got underway on Friday when Hugh Devenney opened proceedings on behalf of the Donegal County Board. It was immediately down to business as several reports were read out to the full attendance. Some of the highlights amongst those reports included our Fixtures report delivered by Karen Togher who delivered 509 national fixtures which is an incredible number.
National Development Manager, Paula Prunty, revealed that there were no fewer than 1,224 new LGFA players thanks to the Gaelic4Girls programme and that over 1,800 Gaelic4Mothers&Others players took part in the National Blitz representing 103 clubs.
National Injury Fund Co-Ordinator, Rosemary Coyle, had some very good news from 2016 as the introduction of mandatory use of gumshields amongst juvenile players saw the number of claims for dental injuries cut in half. However, there were still 221 knee injuries amongst adult players and 105 amongst juveniles with 97 of those being ACL injuries which were all increases on 2015.
LGFA CEO, Helen O’Rourke then delivered her report and as part of that she urged government to look at the funding that they are making available to women’s sport especially in comparison with the extremely well funded men’s sports.
This brought to a close the proceedings for Day 1 of congress as delegated adjourned before reassembling on Saturday to begin voting on the motions that had been brought to congress by the units of the association.
Amongst the highlights of the motions passed at Congress 2017 were a change to the injury fund rules that sees the maximum claim rise by 10% to €5,500. An amendment to Rule 250 saw the President of the LGFA be given the ability to elect a representative to sub committees paving the way for the introduction of new and younger volunteers into the higher levels of the association. Amendments to Rule 252 also saw members of subcommittees limited to serving on one such committee at any time.
A further change to the playing rules saw the amendment of Rule 518 to allow a referee to over-rule a match official and give finals scores and they can be assisted in making these decisions regarding scores by any scoring device as approved by Central Council.
The business of the Annual Congress then switched to elections for officers including that of President. Outgoing president, Marie Hickey, was nominated for the position and she was elected unopposed to serve a second three year term commencing in 2018. All standing officers of Central Council were all re-elected to their posts unopposed.
The final act of congress was to decide where the 2018 Annual Congress would be held. Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Louth all expressed an interest in hosting next year’s meeting and all made impassioned speeches to the delegates present before it went to a vote. As a result of the vote Louth was selected and will now welcome the delegates next year for LGFA Congress 2018.
Motions Congress 2017
Rule 39 – Delete “each year” in Line 5 and replace it with “The Financial Year ends on 31st October each year” to read:
The Committee, Board, or Council represented by the Treasurer/Financial Administrator shall furnish a balance sheet of the accounts for the year just ended, to the Club, County Board, Provincial and Annual Congress. The Financial Year ends on 31st October each year. These must be supported by bank statements. Failure to do so shall result in suspension until furnished.
Proposed amendment by Dublin & Westmeath
(a) Medical expenses to a maximum of €5,500
Amend Rule 107 and 109
Replace NACB, Canada/Canadian, with USGAA and Canada GAA.
*Note if passed names will be changed wherever it appears within the Official Guide
Rule 107 – Add three new paragraphs at the end of the rule
“A player wishing to play in the Middle East GAA, Asia GAA and Australasian GAA Boards either in a temporary or permanent basis must complete a transfer form and submit this form to the National LGFA office in Dublin.
The closing dates and other eligibility conditions shall be governed by the regulations of the relevant governing bodies of those GAA Boards.
Should a player wish to return to her previous club, Home or a new club she must seek a transfer.
She continues to be eligible to play county football as outlined in Rules 199 and 200.
A player wishing to play in Britain requires a transfer if she has played club football elsewhere within the last 3 years.
Amend Rule 109
Remove “excluding Britain and Australasia” from the first paragraph and insert “temporarily” after play in Line 1 and “USGAA, Canada GAA and New York LGFA” to read:
Players who intend to play on a temporary basis in our affiliated units in New York LGFA, USGAA and Canada GAA must complete an official permit form in duplicate and have it signed by the Club, County and National Secretaries.
Amend Rule 187
Change date from ‘1st March’ to ‘15th January.
PLAYER ELIGIBILITY FOR CLUB COUNTY & PROVINCE
Amend Rule 139 last paragraph
Remove ‘or 31st March, whichever is the earliest, or an earlier date in the calendar year as the County Board may decide’ and amend ‘three’ to ‘four’ to read as follows:
‘The closing date for a player seeking permission to play Adult Football is 4 weeks prior to the commencement of the competition. The maximum number of players allowed to obtain permission to play for any Club shall be four. This permission is to be renewed on an annual basis.’
Passed 84:14 With immediate effect
Amend Rule 250
Delete ‘elect’ in Line 1 and add to the end of the 1st paragraph to read:
Central Council or Congress shall appoint sub-committees in addition to an appointee of the National President. The sub-committees shall elect a Chairperson and Secretary from within their respective Committees.
Amend Rule 250
Replace ‘representatives’ with ‘nominees’ in (a), (b) and (c)
Amend Rule 251
Remove ‘Central Council’ and replace with…’a nomination from the respective Provincial Council subject to ratification by Central Council.’
Nomination forms should be sent from Provincial Councils to County Boards for names of Nominees for Central Council sub-committees.
Central Council shall only appoint members to the sub-committees from nominations submitted from Provincial Councils.
Amend Rule 252
Delete ‘A member shall not serve on a sub committee for more than 3 years.’ to read: A member shall not serve on more than 1 sub-committee at the same time.’
Amend Rule 413 – Delete” Underage” to read :
All players must wear a mouth guard while playing Ladies Gaelic Football unless advised otherwise, in writing, not to do so, by a qualified Doctor or Dentist. Should she fail to do so, the referee shall order her off the field until the situation is rectified.
This shall not impose on any Referee, Linesperson, Umpire, Side-line Official, Team Official or Unit, any legal duty of care or legal responsibility. This duty shall remain with individual Players, and if relevant, Parents, Guardians or other persons legally responsible for them.
Amend Rule 414 – Insert after “size 3” in Line 2 “Go Games football” to read:
A size 4 football shall be used in all grades of competition from Under 12 upwards. A smaller size 3 or GO Games football may be used for younger age groups.
EXTRA TIME AND REPLAYS
Amend Rule 421 – Delete “2 Periods of Extra Time” and last line in the second paragraph and replace it with a point shoot out to read:
In exceptional circumstances, the Organising Committee, Board or Council may instruct teams to play One Period of Extra Time followed by a point shoot-out from 30 metres, between the two posts, where indicated by the referee. In the case of under 14 competitions and below, the point shoot-out shall be from the 20 metre line.
Each team shall take 5 kicks at point scoring. If the scores are still tied after each team has taken their 5 kicks, sudden death procedure shall follow, using different players, until such time as there is a winner.
The ball must go directly over the crossbar, off the crossbar and over, or off the uprights and over the crossbar, to be counted as a point.
A ball that hops in front of the goal and goes over the bar shall not be counted as a point.
Any player that crosses the 30m mark while kicking for a point shall have her score disallowed.
The referee shall add the points scored by both teams in the shoot-out to the scores at the end of Extra Time in reporting the final score.
Extra Time shall consist of 10 minutes each way.
BALL IN PLAY
Rule 438 – Add new paragraph to the end of the Rule to read
Should an opposing player interfere with the taking of the 45m kick, the referee shall award a free 13m forward, nearer to the defending goal.
Remove Rule 473 (g)
“Attempting to strike or kick an opponent”
Amend Rule 474(a)
“Striking an opponent or colleague with the hand, arm, elbow, head or knee” to read “Striking or making a striking action towards an opponent or colleague with the hand, arm, elbow, head or knee” (Red Card Offence)
Add to Rule 518 – “The referee may be assisted in determining scores by any scoring device as approved by Central Council” to read:
The referee shall have the power to over-rule a match official and give final scores. The referee may be assisted in determining scores by any scoring device as approved by Central Council”.
Amend Rule 520 – Insert after admissible in Line 1 of 2nd paragraph “unless as outlined in Rule 518” to read:
Video evidence shall not be admissible unless as outlined in Rule 518 to review the decision of a referee where the decision relates to the allowance or disallowance of a score, the award of a free or the playing time allowed.
Amend Rule 522 to read:
The team lists and referees match report shall remain the property of the Committee or Council in charge of the fixture and shall not be issued to any other party.
However if a person is the subject of a disciplinary hearing as a result of the referee’s report, the relevant section of that report shall be made available.
Amend Rule 525 to read:
“Referees from the Association’s own panel shall be paid expenses at the rate of 30 cent per kilometre or 50 cent per mile, and a match fee of €40, or as decided by Central Council. International Units of the Association are exempted”.