GAA Football

CPA intends 'turning the heat up on the GAA' says secretary Declan Brennan

CPA secretary Declan Brennan says the GAA will have to take notice of the results of a survey of almost 5,000 of its members. Pic Philip Walsh.
Sean O'Neill

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CLUB Player's Association secretary Declan Brennan says the group will be "turning the heat up on the GAA" over the coming weeks.

Brennan was speaking to the Irish News after the results of a survey of almost 5,000 club players were released yesterday.

Question one of the survey queried whether CPA members supported the recent introduction of the Super 8 format for the inter-county football championship.

This will be introduced next year for a three year period after being voted through Congress in February against the wishes of both the GPA and CPA.

It will see the All-Ireland quarter-finals replaced by two round-robin groups of four teams, meaning an eight additional games.

The response of those surveyed was no shock to Brennan, with 60 percent against, 12 percent for and 28 percent unsure.

"Well, it's really no surprise," declared Brennan.

"There's no spin or no fake news in this. This is off the back of a lot of hard work that went into the CPA putting the system together to be fit to survey their members. It's backing up what we've been saying before Congress, and now we're turning the heat up.

"But there's 28 percent there as well that don't know - because they don't know much about it. If we even got half of that, that could bring it up to 75 percent.

"I think it's a wake up call – we're turning the heat up and we will be over the coming weeks – we said it at our launch that in a hundred days or so we would present something that we would bring to the table and we intend to do that."

When asked what he meant by "turning the heat up", Brennan responded: "Listen, this jumps out – the GAA will have to reply to this, the GAA will have to talk about this and we intend to engage with them.

"Nothing's changed – we want something done sooner rather than later."

Another question posed to players asked them to select, from a list, three improvements that they would like to see implemented. Way out in front, with 72 percent opting for it, was an unchangeable calendar, whilst 45 percent said they would like regular games during the summer.

A 'defined holiday period' from the sport was also popular, with 40 percent of players making it a priority.

Again, for Brennan, this backs up with hard evidence what was already known.

"There's nothing new about this, and everybody knows this, but at least we have put it into some stats that are credible," he insisted.

"And I'd like to compliment everybody who was involved to get to this stage."

Two further questions asked were, first of all, whether the players had ever attended a committee meeting at their club and secondly, whether they had ever attended the AGM at their club.

To the first, almost 67 percent of players said they had attended a committee meeting, while just over 33 percent said they gad not.

As regards the AGM, over 81 percent said they had been to one, with over 18 percent saying they had not.

Brennan had an interesting, and honest, take on these replies.

"We would hope that there would be far more players getting involved with their clubs and with the AGMs – that we wouldn't need to be here as a group - the CPA," he said.

"If players did get involved and were more forthcoming about going to meetings, and were getting involved, and there wasn't such a disconnect between what happens at a county board meeting and with the players.

"So, it's not everybody who is at fault in the administration end of things – the players are at fault too for not getting more involved.

"But some players will be put off by some of the democracy that goes on and the horse trading so it's not everybody's cup of tea either, I suppose.

"There's no need for a CPA if people had got involved over the years, and if the system that was there wasn't broken. But the system that's there at the moment is broken.

"There are numerous things to be done and listen we won't be fit to sort everything but the one thing that we're going to try and sort is fixing fixtures."

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