On Saturday, delegates will attend a Special Congress of the GAA at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Congress usually takes place each February but this gathering has been called with a view to introducing changes to the rules of Gaelic Football and a Tier 2 Championship in time for the 2020 season.

The five motions up for debate must receive 60% approval to pass.

This is made more likely by the fact that counties usually have one delegate per 10 clubs but this is halved at a Special Congress. The unchanged Central Council representation of 50, who can mostly be relied on to support the motions as they were involved in putting them forward, will therefore make up a sizeable proportion of the roughly 185 voters.

So what exactly will be decided from 2pm in Cork City?

Motion 1 - Tier 2 Championship

The most contentious of the motions seeks to introduce a Tier 2 Championship for Division 3 or 4 teams that do not reach their respective provincial finals.

Instead of entering the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers, these (up to) 16 teams would take part in a secondary knockout competition culminating in semi-finals and a final at Croke Park in July.

GAA president John Horan has been an enthusiastic proponent of the idea, which he believes will encourage the development of counties struggling to compete with the game's elite.

Critics, such as the Gaelic Players Association and Club Players Association, believe the competition is being rushed through too hastily, given the GAA's Fixtures Task Force has yet to issue its proposals for reform, and that the format of the competition is too similar to the short-lived (2004-08) and unloved Tommy Murphy Cup.

As it stands, counties who enter the Tier 2 competition rather than the qualifiers could still see their Championship campaign end after two games.

Image: GAA.ie

Motion 2 - Deciding who goes into Tier 2

The GAA has left it up to delegates to decide whether it should be the teams that start the 2020 Allianz Football League in Divisions 3 and 4 that play in Tier 2 or whether it should be based on finishing positions in March.

In the latter scenario, the two teams promoted from Division 3 would contest the qualifiers and the two relegated from Division 2 would be in Tier 2.

Motion 3 - The advanced mark

Th first of the three playing rules motions seeks to reward players who take a 'mark' or clean possession inside the opposition's 45 with a free-kick.

The mark rule currently only applies to kick-outs but if this change is voted in then any pass that travels 20 metres or more and is caught inside the 45 will also earn an attacking mark.

Players can choose to play on or signal to the referee that they wish to take the free instead, which will be brought back to the 13m line for balls caught between there and the end line.

The proposal, which was trialled in this year's Allianz Football League, intends to reward kick-passing, which is perceived to have diminished in recent years.

The GAA said the change resulted in a 24% increase in the average number of foot passes in the 2019 League games compared to the previous year's Championship.

A trial restriction on the number of consecutive handpasses allowed was scrapped after the 2019 pre-season competitions.

Motion 4 - Sin bin

Under the current rules, a player receiving a black card for cynical play can be replaced by a substitute, unless he has already received a yellow card or his team have used their complement of six subs.

If this change is introduced, the player will spend 10 minutes off the field with no substitute allowed, reducing his side's numbers for that period.

A second black card, or a black following a yellow, will result in a red card and expulsion from the game rather than a sin-binning.

The sideline official will keep track of the 10 minute suspension, which could be interesting in underage and some adult club games where the participating teams often provide the linesmen.

The number of substitutes allowed, which has been six since the introduction of the black card in 2014, will be reduced back to five, as in hurling.

Motion 5 - Kickout

This rule provides for all kickouts to be taken from the 20m line rather than the current mark of the 13m line.

The ball must travel forward and all players must be at least 13m away and outside the D and 20m line when the kick is taken.

This change seeks to encourage long kicking and marks rather than the short restarts which have become increasingly common.