Time to update your agenda with 2018 match fixtures and other events.
The Competition Control Committee (CCC) has just released the 2018 MFP (Master Fixtures Plan). This is the first time that the calendar of matches, tournaments and other European gaelic games events has been published December of the preceding year. The 2018 MFP can be viewed/downloaded here: 2018 MFP (Vers.1)
Dates for the European Premier (15-a-side) Football Championships and the European Handball Championships will be added in the coming weeks. Invitations to clubs to apply to host each European Championship event will be issued in the coming weeks and venues agreed by end of January 2018. The dates and venues for the Nordic regional competitions, which usually don’t commence until May, will also be added shortly.
The complexities of factoring in differing playing seasons in some areas while facilitating more regional competitions means that the CCC has to consult extensively with each region whilst finding dates for European Championships, internationals and other events. This is a very time consuming process with regional representatives having to establish preferred dates for clubs. Once dates are agreed, venues have to be secured by clubs which further delays finalisation of the MFP. Adding to the complexity is the application process for agreeing host clubs for European Championship events in camogie/hurling, football and handball.
In previous years, the MFP drafting process could only commence work following Annual Convention so that changes to competitions formats could be included in the planning process. The intensive consultations with regions then usually took 2-3 months resulting in MFPs being published in late January or February. However, the 2016 GGE Annual Convention decided to delay implementation of any changes to competition structures at least one full year after they are agreed. This facilitated an earlier start by last year’s CCC who commenced work on the 2018 MFP in May 2017. The incoming CCC were then able to quickly finalise most of the 2018 MFP in the four weeks since they were appointed at Annual Convention at the end of November.
The CCC will also start work on an outline MFP for 2019 next month, with the aim of publishing it by March/April. The outline will set down the dates for the World GAA Games, European Championships, international matches and other events. Regions will then be able organise their own competitions using ‘free’ dates. Once these are agreed later in 2019, clubs will be able to use remaining ‘windows’ in the MFP to organise friendly games, invitational tournaments or arrange club tours etc. The final 2019 MFP should be largely complete before the summer which will assist forward planning by clubs who often have to apply up to a year in advance to secure pitches etc.