GAA instructs clubs to keep pitches closed as inter-county season pushed back 3 weeks ago

GAA instructs clubs to keep pitches closed as inter-county season pushed back

Clubs have been reminded that on-field activity of any kind is prohibited until at least July 20.

The GAA has issued a strong statement that will keep pitches closed throughout the country and postpones the inter-county championship until at least October.

After Leo Varadkar announced a five-stage plan to ease restrictions for Ireland, it was hoped that sport would start to follow, even tentatively. But the GAA has moved to distance itself from the idea that teams can train even if social distancing is adhered to.

"GAA facilities are to remain closed as part of efforts to prevent gatherings which breach the restrictions," Wednesday's statement said.

"We are instructing our clubs and counties to continue to adhere to the restrictions and to refrain from organising on-field activity. These measures are expected to remain in place until July 20.

"Our units are reminded that the Player Injury scheme is suspended and will remain so until an official return to action protocol is confirmed."

Meanwhile, inter-county managers are said to be unhappy at the revelation that the championship is being pushed until at least October.

With the association relying so heavily on gate revenue, organising a behind-closed-doors tournament would be further down the plan of action list so, whilst they still hope to stage both the hurling and football championships this year, they are giving themselves as much time as possible for that to become possible.

"The GAA still firmly hopes to be able to play county and club competitions this year, subject of course to public health guidance.

"We can confirm however that no inter-county games are expected to take place before October.

"Counties are asked, in the interest of players, to suspend all inter-county training until further notice.

"There will be a phased resumption of training at both club and county level to allow players to prepare appropriately for playing games.

"While not categorically ruling out the possible staging of games behind closed doors later in the year, there appears to be a lack of appetite for this type of fixture-scheduling at the current time across the wider Association."