Despite strong objections from a number of clubs the new proposals for change to the structures of the various football championship were given the green light by a comfortable majority (45-18) at last night's county committee gathering in Dunganny.
The new proposals had previously been discussed at length by both club representatives and through a players forum and county chairman Peter O'Halloran urged delegates to support the changes.
However Bective delegate Paddy McConnell proposed an amendment that the club championships remain in their current format. He spoke of his concern for the small and medium sized clubs.
Liam Kerrane (O'Mahonys) supported the Bective delegate and said he was concerned that the championships would not commence until August. Pat O'Reilly indicated that his club Simonstown were in favour of change but was also concerned about the championship starting late in the year.
A number of other delegates including Wolfe Tones and Rathkenny also spoke against the proposed changes.
Ciaran Flynn (Dunsany) pointed out that the outcome of the players forum was for change.
Dunshaughlin and St Brigid's delegates also spoke in favour of change as did Nobber's Larry McEntee but he didn't want to see the bottom two teams in each division being involved in the relegation play-off.
Following a vote the proposals for change were ratified by 45 votes to 18.
The new format will come into force for the 2020 championships. However three teams will be relegated from senior ranks at the end of the 2019 campaign.
New Championship Format, The Main Changes
Three teams shall be relegated from SFC to IFC in 2019.
Relegation from SFC shall be decided as follows - the teams that finish in fifth and sixth places in each group A, B, C each play one relegation game. The loser of each game will be relegated to IFC for 2020.
The draw will be pre-determined as follows - A5 v B6; B5 v C6; C5 v A6.
In the event of a relegation game finishing level, extra-time will be played and if still level then the game will go to a replay.
Intermediate football champions of 2019 will promoted to SFC for 2020.
There shall be no relegation from Intermediate Football Championship for 2019.
The 2020 IFC shall consist of 20 first teams.
To ensure this happens the two best placed Junior Football Championship first teams in 2019 shall be promoted to the IFC for 2020.
This shall include the 2019 JFC Champions (if a first team) and the JFC runner-up (if a first team).
If necessary a play-off shall take place between the beaten JFC semi-finalists (if first teams).
Any second team competing in the 2019 IFC shall be regraded to a new Premier A grade for 2020.
No first team shall be relegated from Junior Football Championship in 2019.
All second teams competing in JFC in 2019 shall be regraded to the Premier A grade for 2020.
All first teams competing in Junior B Football Championship for 2019 shall be upgraded to Junior Football Championship for 2020 unless they apply to be graded to the new Premier grade.
Following the completion of the 2019 B Football Leagues all teams in Div 1 plus the Div 2 finalists or any team that applies or is invited, up to a maximum of 12 teams shall be placed in a new A FL Div 4A for 2020.
At the end of 2019, the final standings of B FL Div 1 will be used to determine promotion and relegation. B FL Div 1 will be known as Div 4A and Div 4 will be known as Div 4B
At the end of 2019, the top two teams from Div 4A will be promoted to Div 3, the bottom four teams from Div 4A will be relegated to Div 4B and the top four teams from Div 4B will be promoted to Div 4A.
For the 2020 SFC there shall be six championships at adult football level in Meath - senior, intermediate, junior, district, u-21, premier (at various grades).
The SFC shall contain 16 teams drawn into four groups each containing four teams. The top two teams shall progress to the quarter-finals. The bottom two in each group shall contest the relegation quarter-finals.
The IFC shall consist of 20 teams drawn randomly in five groups each containing four teams. The top two teams in each group shall contest the knock-out stages in a predetermined draw. The bottom two in each group shall contest the relegation quarter-finals.
The Junior Football Championship shall consist of the remaining first teams. Following completion of the affiliations each year, the format of this competition will be finalised. The winner of the JFC each year shall be promoted to IFC the following year. There shall be no relegation from JFC.
The Premier Club Football Championships (second, third teams) shall be graded in groups of eight with the top four teams in each group qualifying for the semi-finals of each grade.
A District Senior Football Championship shall be organised. This competition shall contain at least eight independent teams from clubs from the intermediate and junior grades. The District Championship shall commence after the IFC and JFC are completed. Independent teams shall be ratified before 28th February annually.
Players from clubs that have won IFC and JFC titles may opt out of District Championship while involved in Leinster Club Championships.
The Feis Cup, Corn na Boinne and Tailteann Cup may be played as a preseason competition in groups of four or less. The format each year shall be decided by the CCC with group winners only progressing to the knockout stages.