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Dublin: 8°C Saturday 15 May 2021

CPA: 'Circumstances have presented the GAA with a golden opportunity to trial a clear split in the season'

The CPA have backed the GPA’s proposal as the GAA’s Fixture Calendar Review Task Force prepare to make their decision.

CPA chairman Micheal Briody.
CPA chairman Micheal Briody.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

THE CLUB PLAYERS Association have rowed in behind the Gaelic Players Association’s proposal to split the GAA season into club and county. 

The GAA’s Fixture Calendar Review Task Force is set to meet in the coming days to consider proposals related to the calendar, with the GPA set to put forward a format that would see a condensed inter-county season run from February to July.

GAA president John Horan also indicated in recent days that he believes running county first and then club is the fairest solution. It means three major stakeholders – the GPA, CPA and GAA – are largely in agreement on the matter.

In a statement, the CPA have called on the Task Force’s members to recognise that a split season is “the best option” for players.

“Circumstances have presented the GAA with a golden opportunity to trial a clear split in the season,” said CPA chairman Micheál Briody.

“The response from clubs, players and supporters has shown definitively there is merit in giving club and county their own clear windows, with the right governance structures in place.

“It may have taken different timelines and different routes to get to this point but there is a growing realisation that a split season approach is the best solution to fixing the fixtures. It is reassuring now to see that the GAA, GPA and CPA have come to similar conclusions. We have always said it is about what is right, not who is right.

“The current consensus has come about as a result of circumstances and the threat to our games posed by the disruption and uncertainty of Covid-19.

“But with any threat there is also very often an opportunity, and if the Task Force can build on the current opportunity with evidence from the enforced split, then the GAA has a once in a generation chance to Fix the Fixtures.

“Our Association has the opportunity to come out of this dreadful scenario, stronger, better and more united than before.”

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Briody said a blank canvass approach would be required to redraw the season.

“The fact that the Task Force is willing to consider additional season templates is reassuring,” he said. “The GPA’s very positive adoption of a season split to accommodate fully club and county programmes is commendable and we strongly welcome it.

“We also commend the GPA and the GAA for acting now on the recent ESRI research they jointly commissioned, where 40% of GPA members stated they choose the wrong career path in order to play the games they love and enjoy.”

“We know the work that is involved in extensive research, drafting and taking a critical view of different calendar models because we spent time doing that ourselves from a blank canvas. Eleven models were drawn up by a team led by Liam Griffin.

“That work was given to GAA management to help the process. Within that work we have versions of the split season which we will resend to the Fixtures Task Force to review in the coming weeks.

“The idea of the split season is more appealing and makes more sense because in our current situation we can see the profile the club game attracts, the pride it generates and the popularity of games in summer.

“We believe there are grounds for cautious optimism. An opportunity has presented itself, it would be unforgivable to let it pass.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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