GAA Football

Club Players' Association is following in my footsteps says Aogán Ó Fearghail

Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Aogán Ó Fearghail speaking to the media during a press conference at the JW Marriott in Dubai on Monday
Picture by Sportsfile
Kenny Archer in Dubai

THE GAA top brass agree with the views of the nascent Club Players’ Association, but president Aogán Ó Fearghail believes change can come more quickly through club delegates.

In relation to reducing the time the football Championship takes up in the GAA calendar, the Cavan man commented that “what the guys in the Club Players' Association are saying is exactly what I’ve been saying myself, it’s what the ard stiúrthóir [Páraic Duffy] has been writing in his reports for the last two, three, four years. It is unfair at the moment that everything ceases for such a long block of time.”

Ó Fearghail agreed with a suggestion club players might be better off pressurising county boards: “I’m sure they would. We can’t pass the current proposals [to alter the football Championship timetable] unless congress passes them.

“We can have management [committee] fully supporting the document, which is the situation, and we can have central council endorsing it strongly but, unless congress votes for it, it won’t happen.”

The president stressed change must come from the clubs up, through their counties: “I think people overplay the ‘power’, as they call it, of provincial councils. It’s counties. And counties are made up of clubs and club delegates.

“That’s where people need a bit of clarity. There has to be more clarity in our clubs. They are the people with the power and counties have to realise they vote at congress, not provincial councils. Of course, they [provincial councils] have a voice and an influence, but it’s counties themselves [who decide].”

The Drumgoon stalwart made clear he has no problem with the CPA, which is to launch fully in January, saying: “I’ve always welcomed debate, from my first speech in congress at the Slieve Russell. There is no doubt that the current situation with clubs has grown to the biggest challenge that we have had.

“I said that when I came in and I’m delighted that we have now, in the [football Championship] proposals, a method of addressing it. Not a solution to everything, absolutely not, but what the guys in the Club Players' Association are saying is exactly what I’ve been saying myself…

“People might talk about a block [of time] for counties, a block for inter-county. But if an inter-county team is involved [in the Championship], that player will not be playing with his club. That’s just the reality.

“It shouldn’t be like that, it just should not be like that, but it needs to be tightened and it needs to be shaken in the way that I think the current proposals will do.

“That will go a long way toward addressing the current issue. There is nothing that I have seen from anybody representing a group called the Club Players' Association… that would upset me, to be fair about it”.

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