Rule 42
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Rule 42

Rule 42 (now Rule 5.1[1] and Rule 44[2] in the 2008 guide) is a rule of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) which in practice prohibits the playing of non-Gaelic games in GAA stadiums. The rule is often mistakenly believed to prohibit foreign sports at GAA owned stadiums.[3] However, non-Gaelic games such as boxing and American football did take place in Croke Park before Rule 42 was modified.

The drive to have Rule 42 changed

In the early 2000s the GAA came under pressure to allow non-Gaelic games be played in Croke Park so that the Football Association of Ireland could be joint hosts of Euro 2008.[4] Subsequently the association was asked to modify the rule so that the Ireland national rugby union team and Republic of Ireland national football team would not have to play their home games outside Ireland while the Lansdowne Road stadium was being redeveloped.[5] A number of motions to change Rule 42 failed or were blocked from being put on the agenda[6] with the majority of the opposition coming from the Ulster counties.[7] The Rule was finally modified in 2005 to allow the playing of association football and rugby union in Croke Park only while Lansdowne Road was being redeveloped. The motion gave the GAA's central council the power to decide which games would be allowed in Croke Park.[8] The motion to the GAA's annual congress passed 227-97, thus obtaining the two-thirds majority required.[9]

When the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road is complete

It was agreed that once the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road (now called the Aviva Stadium) is complete Rule 42 will revert to its 2005 wording.[10][1] However, high profile GAA members including Seán Kelly, former GAA president, have expressed the view that the rule should not be reversed.[11][12] On 17 April 2010 the GAA voted to keep Croke Park open after the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road.[13]

Outside Croke Park

In addition to the opening of Croke Park to competing sports, local GAA units have sought to rent their facilities out to other sports organisations for financial reasons in violation of Rule 42.[14][15] The continued existence of Rule 42 has proven to be controversial since the management of Croke Park has been allowed to earn revenue by renting the facility out to competing sports organisations, but local GAA units which own smaller facilities cannot.[14][16] It is also said that it is questionable as to whether or not such rental deals would actually be damaging to the GAA's interests.[14]

Wording of the rule

The original wording of Rule 42 is:

Grounds controlled by Association units shall not be used or permitted to be used, for horse racing, greyhound racing, or for field games other than those sanctioned by Central Council.[17]

The 2005 amendment added the sentence:

Central Council shall have the power to authorise the use of Croke Park for games, other than those controlled by the Association, during a temporary period when Lansdowne Road Football Ground is closed for the proposed development.[1]

The first games in Croke Park

The first game to take place under the relaxed Rule 42 took place on 11 February 2007. It was a Six Nations Championship rugby union match between Ireland and France which Ireland lost 17-20.[18] The following match against England generated some controversy, since it involved the playing of "God Save the Queen" at a ground where British soldiers had killed fourteen spectators on Bloody Sunday, 1920.[19][20] There was a small protest by Republican Sinn Féin outside the ground. Ireland won the match by 43 points to 13.[21][22][23]

A world record attendance

In early February 2009, with possibility of an all Irish semi-final in the 2008-09 Heineken Cup, the GAA confirmed that club rugby would also be allowed under the relaxing of Rule 42.[24] The game was played in Croke Park on 2 May 2009, when Leinster defeated Munster 25-6. The attendance of 82,208 set a then world record attendance for a club rugby union game.[25]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "2009 official guide part1" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 February 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ "2008 official guide part1" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 September 2009. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ McGee, Eugene (14 November 2007). "Why GAA needs this dose of reality". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010.
  4. ^ "Croke Park ruled out for Euro 2008". BBC News. 15 September 2002. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ "Green light for Lansdowne". BBC News. 27 January 2004. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ "Rule 42 debate will go ahead". Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  7. ^ Helm, James (16 April 2005). "Gaelic angst over stadium decision". BBC News. Retrieved 2010.
  8. ^ "GAA Congress Rule 42 decision welcomed". RTÉ News. 16 April 2005. Retrieved 2010.
  9. ^ "Rule 42 motion is carried". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 2010.
  10. ^ "Ireland must wait to enjoy Croke craic". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  11. ^ "Walsh wants Croker to stay open". RTÉ News. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 2010.
  12. ^ "No sense in Croke Park reverting to ban, says Kelly". The Irish Times. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 2010.
  13. ^ "Croke Park doors to remain open". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2010.
  14. ^ a b c Martin Breheny (5 March 2011). "State of the Game". Irish Independent.
  15. ^ Donnchadh Boyle (9 December 2010). "Facilities for GAA use only: Cooney". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2011.
  16. ^ O'Rourke, Colm (13 March 2011). "There is no more room for vanity projects in the GAA". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 2011.
  17. ^ "2003 GAA Guide showing pre-2005 wording of Rule 42" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 August 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  18. ^ "Ireland 17-20 France". BBC News. 11 February 2007. Retrieved 2010.
  19. ^ "'Foreign' rugby invading Ireland's hallowed ground". Retrieved 2010.
  20. ^ Murphy, John A (18 February 2007). "'God Save the Queen' at Jones's Road a remarkable moment'". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2010.
  21. ^ Hewett, Chris (26 February 2007). "Ireland 43 England 13: Ireland have the last laugh as Ashton rues 'massive blip'". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2010.
  22. ^ "Image showing man wearing Celtic tracksuit and holding sign". Retrieved 2010.
  23. ^ "Republicans protest against "God Save The Queen" at Croker". Retrieved 2010.
  24. ^ "Croke Park lined up as potential semi-final venue". Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 2010.
  25. ^ "Leinster 25-6 Munster". BBC News. 2 May 2009. Retrieved 2010.

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