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GPA's motion to Congress, negotiating a new deal with the GAA and the challenge of expense for players

Negotiations between the GAA and the GPA on a new deal will take place later this year.

GPA chief executive Paul Flynn at a media briefing yesterday in their offices in Santry.
GPA chief executive Paul Flynn at a media briefing yesterday in their offices in Santry.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

THE GPA’S MOTION to the upcoming Congress to seek representation on the GAA’s CCCC will be strictly for matters on inter-county fixtures.

The motion for the players group will be on the agenda at the 2019 GAA Congress in Wexford on Saturday 23 February.

Motion 31 on the ‘clár’ would have input into issues ‘that are related to inter-county hurling and football competitions only’ with GPA CEO Paul Flynn insisting that they would not be involved in other matters such as discipline.

“It is really for the purpose of inter county football and hurling fixtures only. We have highlighted it.

“We have been pretty clear on that. If you think back, we go in there a lot and present findings. We were in there in November when we had our survey of players, our review of the season, and they were delighted to see this kind of content and player based feedback.

“We have no vote. All we do is give that information and leave the room. We feel that when they are talking about fixtures, inter county games, it is very, very easy for us to be in there.

“But, also to be actually a decision maker and not just be in there and give feedback. We can leave again if they want to discuss other issues. That’s the purposes of it.”

The GPA are set to commence negotiations soon with the GAA as the current deal between the groups concludes in late 2019.

At the moment the GPA receive 15% of the GAA’s annual commercial revenue, a figure which stood at €17.3 million in 2018, but they have not ruled out looking for a slice of the GAA’s gate receipts.

“You know, we are open to looking at all aspects of it,” stated Flynn at a media briefing yesterday in their offices in Santry.

GAA/Croke Park Financial Reports Media Briefing GAA Commercial Director Peter McKenna, President John Horan and Director of Finance Ger Mulryan at last week's financial reports media briefing. Source: Piaras Ó Mídheach/SPORTSFILE

“And I suppose it is something that could come down the line in regard to the negotiations. But again, with other players associations, that is something that has been linked, gate receipt, so.

“We’ve a deal that runs now, it’s from 2016 to ’19. So at the end of this year now, probably later on in this year, we’ll start negotiating then for the future deal.

“For us, the demand is increasing. We’ve got a membership body that’s growing whether that be through past players or relationships that we’ve been developing over time with the WGPA, there’s many different things that we can address through the negotiations.”

Flynn identified the reimbursement of travelling expenses for players as a major challenge.

“One of the key issues we’re still seeing is around expenses. If you take for instance, like the ERSI (report) where you’re talking 31 hours, a lot of guys are travelling maybe three hours to training, an hour and a half there and back, or even longer. That’s a student who’s in college.

“They might be in incurring costs from January right up until May. They may not get their initial expenses block paid until the middle of the summer. That’s fairly difficult at times. They can’t hold down part-time jobs because of the demands of the game.

“You might think the expenses is an issue in the perceived lower tier teams only. It’s not, it goes right up to the top. Believe me. So we’re doing a complete review of the expenses at the moment, it’s not complete yet and it takes time to gather all this information but we’ll have more clarity on that in a number of months.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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