CLUB PLAYERS ASSOCIATION PRESS RELEASE

Speaking ahead of Congress CPA Chairman has said the proposed fixture proposals do not address the concerns of Club players.

Micheál Briody Chairman said: “Once again we ask, why can these proposals that have been promoted so aggressively and single-mindedly by the GAA not be parked, so that we can get the right solution in place for our players?”

“We wrote to the President as required under rule 3.35 to formally request the right to speak at Congress on behalf of over 20,000 members. He has replied denying us the opportunity to speak stating it would be inappropriate. The Uachtarán in doing this has ignored the will of more than 20,000 CPA players. This was not unexpected, it is disappointing, but it doesn’t change our single minded approach in representing all our members. This isn’t about granting us speaking access. It’s about fixing fixtures.”

“In effect, the proposals will create an elite ‘Super 8′ of counties, and it does nothing for the plight of the club player in those counties. It also does nothing for hurling.

“With a registered membership of over twenty thousand Club Players throughout Ireland, we are pleading with Congress to stand up for the grassroots of the GAA and to reject this proposal in favour of a real and meaningful consultation with all stakeholders. We need meaningful change to ease the difficulties encountered by county boards and the uncertainty felt by all players,” Micheál Briody has stated.

“We have called the GAA to take on board other stakeholders’ views. They agree with us on that, as they say they are canvassing county boards for their fixtures issues. Surely common sense must prevail here? It’s about what’s right, not who is right.”

Micheál appealed directly to County representatives: “Ahead of this weekend’s GAA Congress we are pleading with our county representatives to consider carefully the implications of the Championship proposals. They are already groaning under the financial weight of running county teams. Over €23million at least was spent nationally last year. The proposed Super 8 idea adds more time, more costs and doesn’t help solve the issues of club fixtures.”

The CPA is seeking official recognition at Congress with motions from Tipperary and Wexford County boards. Already it has over 20,000 members signed up in support of its Fix the Fixtures campaign.

Micheál Briody said the CPA was feeling the wrath of its members in recent weeks: “Players throughout the country have watched in growing frustration and increasing anger as their views have been systematically ignored. They have waited to see concrete Club Fixture proposals coming from the GAA. We have met Páraic and asked the question repeatedly ‘if not now, when will the GAA address the issue of Club Players and the fixtures programme?’ There has been nothing forthcoming for the Club player.”

“On Sunday night players watched as the Sunday Game blatantly promoted one side of the problem. The fact that RTE are a sponsor of the Championship and therefore had a conflicted interest wasn’t lost on our members as RTE licence payers.”

‘We can’t understand this reluctance to consider every alternative. This problem won’t fix itself.”

“Our agenda is simple, and it’s not about financial demands, or commercial endorsements, or putting in requests for equipment or nutrition to county boards as has been suggested. It is about players playing games. That is what the GAA was established to do. That’s what players want to do.”