Leitrim GAA Management Committee have announced that the knockout stages of the Connacht Gold Senior Football Championship, Smith Monumentals Intermediate Football Championship will be played behind closed doors.
Also in all probability at least the semi-finals and final of the Vistamed Junior A Football Championship will be played behind closed doors, while the government imposed crowd limits remain at a maximum of 200 people per outdoor venue.
In their statement Leitrim GAA said “While this is a decision that is bound to register immediate shock, there is a strong rationale behind it.”
It is widely recognised that when arriving at the concluding stages of any competition, interest levels rise accordingly.
Interest in our games at group stages has been heightened in the very fact that there was such a long layoff from sporting activity and we also believe that interest levels will have risen sufficiently high enough to ensure that the current restriction of a maximum of 200 people per venue, inclusive of players and officials, will not be near enough to satisfy demand.
While we are aware that the quarter-final pairings will not be decided until after Saturday’s action, it is immaterial what the various combinations of teams may become, interest levels will naturally rise.
This, almost certainly, will place club officials and county officials in a near-impossible situation as regards who will gain access to the limited number of ‘golden tickets’ in match situations which would, in all practicality, see the number of tickets available to supporters reduce from a heretofore 60 per club to a number at most 50 and probably even less when one considers the various interested parties who will naturally look to attend as our competitions move towards a conclusion.
With the current crowd restrictions, it is viewed as being the fairest solution to all concerned to allow access to no supporters as distinct to having to cater for an impractical situation that would arise at the local level with regard to the distribution of these few precious tickets, and the probability of inevitable confrontation that could follow at turnstiles at venues in consideration of people who have not gained a ticket.
With this in mind, all clubs will be in receipt of 40 Player/Official Passes for the aforementioned games from the weekend of quarter-finals forward. No access will be granted to venues other than to those who hold one of these Player/Official Passes.