CPA 'disappointed but not surprised' at GAA president's rejection of speaking request
THE Club Players Association has spoken of their disappointment, but not surprise, at having their request to speak at this weekend's GAA Congress rejected.
CPA chairman Michéal Briody wrote to GAA president Aogan Ó Fearghail earlier this month to request permission to address the floor at Congress, which takes place in Croke Park across Friday and Saturday.
The GAA's Official Guide says that voting delegates, provincial secretaries and chairpersons of national committees are entitled to speak, but that the President may invite other visitors to speak at his discretion.
The president is under no obligation to permit outside speakers, but notable exceptions have been made in the recent past.
Joe Brolly addressed Congress in 2013 about the Opt for Life campaign, while his former Derry team-mate Tony Scullion – then a member of the Football Review Committee, but not its chairman – made an impassioned plea in support of the black card the same year.
Liam O'Neill was GAA President at the time.
Briody admits that he was disappointed by Ó Fearghail's decision not to allow himself or CPA treasurer Anthony Moyles to speak, but that it was not unexpected.
“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.”
The proposal to reform the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship by introducing a round-robin series at the quarter-final stage looks, at present, likely to be passed by Congress.
The Club Players Association has repeatedly asked for the proposals to be parked in order to facilitate discussions with all the major stakeholders, and this morning's statement says that the introduction of such a system would create an elite band of counties.
"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.”