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GPA 'accepts decision of Congress' and defends its approach to 'Super 8' motion

The players’ organisation has been accused of being too slow to confirm its stance on the controversial move.

GPA chief executive Dermot Earley.
GPA chief executive Dermot Earley.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

THE GAELIC PLAYERS ASSOCIATION says it accepts the decision of Congress to introduce a round-robin format at the quarter-final stage of the football championship.

The GPA has come under fire in the aftermath of the controversial move, with the likes of Oisin McConville and Jarlath Burns accusing the GPA of “sleeping in on the issue” and not consulting enough with the players it represents.

Players and managers from the so-called weaker counties have voiced their dissatisfaction with the changes, with Wicklow boss Johnny Magee calling for football players to go on strike over the issue.

However, today’s statement from the GPA suggests it will attempt to, with the help of its players, find a solution to the structural problems, but failed to mention any potential action beyond that consultative process.

Last Thursday, two days before the motion was passed, the GPA released a statement confirming its opposition to the proposal. However, by that stage the vast majority of delegates had already cast their votes.

The motion was later passed for a three-year trial from 2018 with 76% of the delegates voting in its favour.

GPA chief executive Dermot Earley blamed the delay on last month’s transition of power — his replacement of Dessie Farrell — which came six weeks before Congress.

Now the GPA has moved to clarify its position and insist it has repeatedly consulted its players on competition reform,” the statement reads.

“The Gaelic Players Association would like to clarify a number of points made in the wake of last weekend’s GAA Congress and the passing of Motion 4.

“The GPA has engaged extensively with our members with regard to competition reform over the past 18 months in the form of surveys, squad meetings, regional workshops, the establishment of a steering group of current and former players and through a multitude of communications providing information and seeking input and feedback at various junctures.

“The most recent consultation with all inter-county squads was to ascertain a consensus as to how the sole GPA vote at Congress would be employed.

“Over 70% of squads expressed a wish to vote against this proposal. The reasons for the player opposition to this proposal have already been outlined.

“Following the initial release of the ‘GAA’s Proposal on The Revised Format of the All-Ireland Championships’ last year, the players’ body actively sought opinions of all squads and reconvened the steering group who considered the proposals.

“It should also be noted that following extensive work in bringing forward a new competitions model, the players’ own proposals were dismissed by the GAA partly on the basis that they contained more games.

“While the players’ body accepts the decision of Congress, we will continue to consult with all inter-county players whose views will determine the next course of action for the GPA in relation to structures in both hurling and football.”

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Alan Waldron

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