Games unlikely while social distancing remains - Horan

May 11, 2020

GAA President John Horan. ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo.

GAA President John Horan has said the Association will not take any risks with the health and safety of its members and we probably won't see any games while social distancing is required.

Horan was speaking on the return of the Sunday Game on RTE2 last night.

Asked how he saw Gaelic Games returning while social distancing is required due to Covid-19, Horan explained he couldn't see that working: "I can't see it happening to be quite honest. If social distancing is a priority to deal with this pandemic, I don't know how we can play a contact sport. That is what Gaelic games are. It is a contact sport.

"When you look at the level of contact in sports, scrums in rugby are probably at a different level. But I don't think to say our games are non-contact is correct, no."

The GAA has already said that all on pitch activities are suspended until July 20 while intercounty games are unlikely to resume before October 1. Horan still feels those dates are the correct markers to go by.

"We are holding those July and October dates out but if we can't realise those dates, then we will have to make more serious decisions and push it out more. If we push it out more it may mean we'll have to call off club or inter-county championships and maybe then we'll have to call off both.

"I think this year's Championship would have to start in 2020 and go into the first two months of 2021.

"After that, if we're back in action, we would have to move on and get on with the 2021 competitions. At this stage I would be inclined to say we will struggle to finish the league."

With regards to playing games behind closed doors, Horan doesn't believe that makes sense.

"I have a bit of an issue with the closed doors concept. If it is safe enough for the players to be in close contact on the pitch then it is going to be safe enough to have a certain number of people in the ground gathering," explained the GAA President.

"I don't think behind closed doors is going to happen to be honest with you. I think if there are games of contact sport on the pitch, there is going to be a certain acceptance there will be crowds in the stadium."

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