Bryan Keane/INPHO GPA CEO Paul Flynn.
let them play

GPA call for stricter Covid protocols to allow inter-county season to go ahead

Almost a quarter of surveyed players, meanwhile, said they didn’t want the season to proceed.

THE BOARD OF the GPA have said the inter-county season should go ahead as planned on the agreement Covid-19 safety protocols are improved. 

The players group are calling for stronger testing protocols, stricter compliance and oversight of Covid-19 protocols in all counties and “the use of the safest venue for games”, which opens the door to games potentially being played in neutral venues. 

They have also called for the decision of any player to withdraw from their inter-county panel because of their personal circumstances to be respected.

This announcements follow a meeting today to discuss the results of a survey of 1,695 (76%) of their members, to which 76% of respondents said the season should go ahead.

These endorsements of the season are caveated: 52% of respondents said the season should go ahead, with another 24% saying it should proceed only if the implementation of Covid protocols is improved. 

Another 24% said the season should not go ahead at all.

After a seven-month hiatus, the closing two rounds of the Allianz Leagues will be played over the next two weekends, with the Championships kicking off from 31 October. 

With daily reported cases of Covid-19 now above levels seen even at the peak of the first wave in March and April, however, the GPA this week surveyed members on whether and how players wanted to proceed with the season. 

In a statement, the GPA said the board have decided that “to proceed on the basis these protocols are improved.” 

“We are deeply concerned about our member’s welfare given the ongoing developments nationwide”, said CEO Paul Flynn.

“The clear message from our members is we need to strengthen the protocols to protect the welfare of the players, their families and their communities. We also need to respect the decision of players who opt out of the 2020 season.”

Chairman Tom Parsons, meanwhile, said this is “not a full stop” on the matter, and said the GPA “will continue to monitor developments with a close eye on compliance with Covid-19 protocols”, and “will not hesitate to take further action as we have been mandated to do if required.”

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