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'I don't accept that narrative' - GAA's fixtures task force slams CPA criticism

The two groups were previously working together to revamp the fixtures calendar.

THE GAA’S FIXTURES Calendar Review Taskforce has rejected criticism it received from the Club Player’s Association [CPA] and insists that all of their proposals for change in the GAA were examined.

eddie-sullivan Eddie Sullivan speaking at the unveiling of the recommendations from the GAA’s Fixtures Calendar Review Taskforce. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The CPA withdrew from the Taskforce last month, just a few days before the body was due to deliver its recommendations to GAA hierarchy for a revamped fixtures calendar. 

In a statement released at the time of their withdrawal, the CPA labelled the recommendations as “a compromised document.” The group also claimed that the Taskforce was a “Trojan Horse designed to give cover to GAA authorities to ratify the status quo while having the appearance of consultation and thoughtful deliberation.”

The GAA’s fixture task force has since revealed their 32 recommendations which will go before GAA’s Central Council in January. They will also be presented at regional seminars around the country with some of the motions being brought forward to the Annual Congress in 2020.

The body’s chairman Eddie Sullivan says the CPA’s decision to withdraw doesn’t affect the credibility of their final report.

“I don’t think so,” he told the media at the official unveiling of the 32 recommendations.

We set out our plan for doing the work and for developing the various options, they stuck with us until the 11th hour or just past it. Then they pulled out. That is disappointing.

“I think it is disappointing from their own point of view with the opportunity that is missed in how to influence things from within. That is disappointing, but it didn’t interfere.

“We had a couple of more meetings to wrap up. The options were there, the models were there, and the whole structure. It was a question of wrapping it up, but it was disappointing.”

Sullivan continued by rejecting the CPA’s claim that their proposals were not sufficiently considered when drawing up the recommendations, and says there has been no further communication between the two groups.

“I don’t accept that narrative whatsoever,” added Sullivan

“They did put in proposals, they were examined. All proposals were examined.

“The phrase I used to use to the group was that all these proposals had to be road-tested in terms of what impact that they were going to have and they all got stress-tested so they all were and their proposals were as well.

They were with us right to the end when then the other proposals were put in which were a variant of what we have here but no point in going into all of that. It was all examined, absolutely, no question about that.

“I got an email from them to say that they were withdrawing and they made the point and I just emailed back to say, ‘I don’t accept that but that’s fine, good luck’. I haven’t had any contact with them since.”

There is still some CPA representation in the GAA’s Fixtures Calendar Review Taskforce, including Meath minor football manager Conor O’Donoghue. 

“The good news is there’s still three CPA members left on the panel,” says O’Donoghue. “I’m one of them and there’s two more in the group so the CPA is actually still represented in theory.”

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