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CPA message to club players suggests 'possible escalation' is on the way

The CPA indicated their frustration at a lack of progress in establishing a dedicated fixtures group.

Club Players Association chairman Michael Briody.
Club Players Association chairman Michael Briody.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE CLUB PLAYERS Association (CPA) have hinted that potential strike action could be on the cards as a necessary “next step” in the battle to address the GAA’s fixtures crisis.

In a message sent out to club players this afternoon, the CPA indicated their frustration at a lack of progress from Croke Park on the formation of a new fixtures group.

The email, which was signed by CPA chairperson Micheál Briody and secretary
Michael Higgins, informs players that the body are “now looking for action not words.”

“We will be in touch again soon to update you on next steps, including possible escalation,” it says.

“We ask you as a club player to get ready to stand up for your club against continued inaction.”

In April 2018, the CPA released the results of a survey where two-thirds of respondents were of the belief the club players’ body should “escalate the situation.” 

Over the past number of months, the Association agreed in principle to set-up a fixtures group which would include representatives from all key stakeholders and an independent chairperson.

But progress has since halted while GAA president John Horan irritated the CPA’s top brass with his comments made at Congress this year. Horan suggested they should deliver more detailed proposals of a revamped fixtures calendar. Briody later called the comments “disrespectful”. 

“Over the last number of months, we have been in extensive dialogue with the Director General and An Uachtarán of the GAA,” today’s email reads.

“Substantial and constructive breakthroughs were made in December and January, whereby we got firm commitments that a fixtures group would be set up to look at all competitions.”

Frustrated by the absence of any movement on the issue, the CPA suggest they “cannot say with certainty” that they are “being listened to at management level.”

“We have a clear trail of correspondence from Croke Park about the new fixtures group, but it has yet to be constituted or a date set for meetings. We thought we were being listened to on the formation of the group, its timeframe of activity and its terms of reference. Sadly, progress has since ground to a halt, despite our efforts and enthusiasm. Words but no action.

“Over two years have passed since the CPA was established to help Fix The Fixtures. Unfortunately, the fixtures crisis remains, and nothing has been done by GAA management to materially address the situation or achieve real change.”

Of the GAA’s recently released manifesto, the CPA say “some of the sentiments ring hollow.” 

“As GAA members we already know what we are, but we also know what we could be if our leadership can find the courage, the will and the foresight to move decisively on fixtures.

“The proposed fixtures group, properly constituted, presents an opportunity for a real, lasting legacy, beyond a new Manifesto published and promoted at cost to the GAA.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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