The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) and the Club Players Association (CPA) have had a series of discussions and agreed a number of areas of common ground to help inform GAA players in forthcoming consultation on fixtures.
In the first instance, we urge all players to read in detail the full report from the GAA’s Fixtures Review Taskforce.
Key principles agreed by the GPA and CPA are based upon the fundamental understanding that inter-county players are also club players and that this connection is the basis of the GAA.
(1) The club is the primary basic unit of the GAA from which everything springs. Therefore, this must be recognised in the status which club games are given.
(2) The inter-county game is the GAA’s biggest promotional and developmental tool. It is also the GAA’s primary revenue generator. This must be fully recognised in restructuring our national games calendar.
Furthermore, both organisations are in agreement that, following the recent publication of the Fixtures Calendar Review Taskforce report, and prior to the next phase in that process which includes a series of regional seminars in which all key stakeholders will be provided with the opportunity to provide further views and feedback, there are a number of key points centred around time and governance that we mutually support and wish to highlight.
(1) The Club Window in April/May should be lengthened to a 6-week period to allow the fairest opportunity for the window to be successfully utilised.
(2) The demands placed upon inter-county players in both club and inter-county windows will need to be governed to ensure the games/training load is not detrimental to the players’ welfare.
(3) The Club Window post the All-Ireland football final needs to be a minimum of 9 weeks before provincial club championships begin.
(4) Club Windows will only work fairly for all, if inter county competitions start their championships on the same dates.
(5) There needs to be stronger adherence to provisions regarding the availability of inter-county players to clubs as referenced within GPA Squad Charters.
(6) Bar club teams involved in provincial championships; November should be used exclusively as an off season for inter-county players.
(7) There needs to be strong governance and guidelines introduced to ensure club fixtures schedules are appropriately set out and adhered to throughout the year.
“One of our core pillars is to protect the welfare of our members," stated Paul Flynn, GPA CEO.
"It is therefore vital that fixtures are properly governed to ensure the fundamental link between club and inter-county players is fully recognised and strengthened within the fixtures calendar.
“This year we put a motion before GAA Congress to provide for a GPA representative to sit on the Central Competitions Control Committee to input on fixtures involving inter-county hurling and football competitions only, in a bid to improve the situation for our members.”
“We will work towards this with the CPA, while prioritising the welfare of our members, keeping in focus the amount of games they are expected to play and amount of training they are expected to undertake.”
Michéal Briody, Chairman of the CPA, admitted that both the GPA and CPA have agreed the the current fixtures calendar isnt the best fit for both sets of players.
“The CPA have advocated for a radical structural change to the fixtures calendar since our formation in 2017," Briody commented.
"It is important now that the options for change put forward from the Task Force are disseminated to clubs immediately so that the debate can begin nationwide on what level of change is acceptable.”
“We will work to ensure this communication does happen effectively and it is critical that all clubs become aware of the options that are being presented and then vote for change that will alleviate the current unsatisfactory schedule.”
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