A defiant Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) has doubled down on its controversial decision to exclude Britain from the All Ireland championships, despite a desperate plea from the London ladies’ team for its governing body to reconsider.
As of 6 July, the LFGA has not responded to the London players statement of 30 June.
The LGFA says that it will be issuing “no further comment at this point” and that the quotes given to the Irish World by its president Marie Hickey in our 24 June article still reflect its position.
Speaking to the Irish World following the LGFA’s 16 June decision to exclude Britain and New York, Hickey said that “once a decision is made it’s made”.
She added: “It’s very hard to go back and change things because everybody else plans towards that.
“We can’t make decisions now based on how things may be in the future. Decisions are based on the information we have at any given time.”
The London Ladies Board’s official objection to the decision on 29 June was rejected by the LGFA.
On 30 June, the London players released their own statement, calling the decision a “step backward” in the year of #20×20 and #SeriousSupport – Croke Park supported initiatives which promote girls and women in sport.
It also said that it left London to “stand in the shadows” of their counterparts.
The players also questioned the timing of the LGFAs “abrupt decision”, coming four months before the championships are scheduled to commence on 17 October.
In our 24 June article, Hickey defended the LGFA’s policy to “make decisions early”.
“Ultimately we feel that letting people know early is good, rather than having people hanging on wondering,” she said.
The players’ statement also called for “equal treatment between men and women in sport”, in light of Croke Park’s decision to give men’s county teams from Britain the “benefit of time”.
London’s footballer and hurlers, as well as the hurlers of Warwickshire and Lancashire, were all included in Croke Park’s 26 June unveiling of its revised men’s structures, subject to travel restrictions.
The LGFA’s Management Committee made the decision to exclude the provincial champions of Britain, and New York, on 16 June. It was ratified two days later by the LGFA’s Central Council.
The decision denied the winners of the provincial championship of Britain a place in the All Ireland junior football championship – a competition London won in 2008 and 1993.
Paddy Bowles’ London team was widely tipped to retain the British title again this year, having reached four consecutive All Ireland junior semi-finals between 2016-2019.
Following Croke Park’s 26 June announcement of its revised men’s championship structures, the London Ladies Board officially appealed to LGFA’s decision.
The board expressed its opinion that the decision was “misguided” and was made “too far in advance”.
The board went as far as to question the fairness of London’s men’s teams being allowed to remain in, while its women were removed.
They also expressed their concern that the decision could have a “detrimental effect” on the “progression and development” on the ladies’ game here.
London’s appeal was rejected by the LGFA with Operations Co-Ordinator Deirdre Hiney stating that the decision was made “with the health and safety of all players in mind”, while working “within government restrictions within both countries”.
As revealed by the Irish World, London’s Ladies Board has since confirmed its intention to join the National Football League for 2021. If approved by the LGFA, it will be the first time London had competed in the league since 2008.
Timetable of Events
16 June – LGFA Management Committee make decision to exclude London and New York from 2020 All Ireland junior football championship
18 June – The revised structures for the Ladies All Ireland competitions are signed off at the LGFA’s Central Council meeting
19 June – LGFA send out press release announcing revised championship structures for senior, intermediate and junior All Irelands
26 June – Croke Park announces revised structures of the return of men’s football and hurling – the county teams from London, Warwickshire and Lancashire are all included, travel restrictions permitting
29 June – London Ladies Board appeals decision to exclude them from the championship
30 June – LFGA reject London’s appeal
30 June – Draws made for revised 2020 TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Championships Live on Facebook
30 June – London ladies Gaelic football team release their own statement saying that they have been left to “stand in the shadows” of their counterparts
3 July – LGFA confirms to the Irish World that they will make “no further statement at this point” and refers to the quotes given by its president Marie Hickey to the Irish World in 24 June article