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Jarlath Burns says GAA missed a trick with jersey sponsors and bringing in ‘genuine equality’

GAA presidential hopeful Jarlath Burns says the Association missed a trick for bringing in “genuine equality” with the introduction of sponsors on the back of county jerseys.

The Armagh legend – who is in the running to be the next president of the GAA this Friday night – was speaking to Off The Ball this morning (Thursday) and suggested that the removal of substitutes from the 70th minute onwards is “certainly something to consider”.

The Silverbridge clubman spoke at length about various topics (see full interview above), however, said that to exact change within the organisation was a little more difficult than many people may think, even for a president.

“I think now, we have 32 independent republics, each fighting their own corner and not wanting to give anything and it’s difficult to get decisions made in that arena,” explained Burns when speaking of the nuances around the GAA Central Council.

“One example of that,” he said, was “whenever the decision was brought in that you could have a sponsor and the back of your jersey, I felt that that was a great opportunity for us to bring in genuine equality and instead of allowing each county to make a deal with an individual sponsor, which would discriminate against the Division Three and Division Four teams against Division One and Division two teams, because if you’re a Division One team, you can very easily get a sponsor.

“I found this; Armagh have been in Division Three during my time as an executive, now we’re in Division One. When you’re in Division Three, you’re scraping for sponsors. When you’re in Division One, you don’t have sponsors, you have you have commercial partners, and it’s a completely different relationship and a completely different capacity to get sponsorship.

“So, what I was arguing was that the GAA ourselves should use all of our corporate ability to get one sponsor, put it on every jersey – you could get millions for that; every county jersey in Ireland, hurling and football would have that sponsor on the back of it and give the money out on a sliding scale Division Three, Division four first followed by up to Division One, which would be dealing with the reality that Leitrim has not got the same capacity to get sponsorship as Armagh or Mayo or Dublin – it didn’t even get a seconder!”

Burns also addressed the All-Ireland club final debacle where Kilmacud Crokes ended up playing with 16 men on the field and the GAA’s substitution protocols.

The former Armagh captain said it was suggested to him that substitutes should be banned from the 70th minute onwards.

He explained: “So in a very, very close match it comes to about but the 59th, 60th minute to the 70th minute and then everything becomes frenetic. Every move you could get a score. Like Armagh versus Mayo there a couple of weeks ago, Armagh got five scores in last 10 minutes. There was more football played in the last five minutes than there was in the first 65 minutes.

“And I’ve spoken to people and somebody from the central competitions committee who said that we should probably bring in a rule that wants to 70 minute comes, you can’t make any more substitutions.

“Now when I was chair of the standing committee of paying rules, we brought in a rule because we felt that a lot of substitutions be made just to waste time, that there’s an extra half a minute put on for every substitution. So, a lot of teams don’t realise that the referee is going to put on half a minute for this.

“I’m not saying we should but it’s certainly something to consider. We always look at a solution based approach that perhaps if you bought in that real on the 70th minute, after that for the last five minutes as you have extra time, no substitutions can be made.”

Burns did agree with the panel that that plan in itself leaves it open for questions around injury and changes associated with that.

Watch the full interview below.

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