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GAA Football

GAA must include club fixtures on Special Congress agenda says CPA

The GAA's Central Council look set to call a Special Congress for later this year to deal with the format of the All-Ireland SHC. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

THE Club Players’ Association have said that it is “inconceivable” that the GAA would host a Special Congress later in the year and not include club fixtures on the agenda.

The CPA has also revealed details of a recent survey in which 86 per cent of respondents said that they were not happy with the way club fixtures are currently run in their county.

There has been speculation in recent days that Central Council will call for a Special Congress later in the year in order to discuss the format of the All-Ireland hurling championships.

The CPA repeatedly called for the GAA to shelve its plans for the Super 8 quarter-finals ahead of Annual Congress earlier this year, and wanted discussions among the major stakeholders to take place before a decision would be make.

But their bid failed and the decision-making body passed the proposals on a three-year trial basis.

That is due to come into effect from next year and although the CPA wants to put the club fixtures issue on the agenda of any special Congress, they won’t be able to reverse the decision made over the Super 8s.

The GAA’s Official Guide states that a Special Congress cannot change a decision made by Annual Congress when held within 48 weeks of the decision.

Croke Park announced last week that it has begun an “in-depth study of club fixtures in every single county,” which it hopes will lead to a “more reasonable schedule of games for club players”.

The CPA have released a statement saying that they are happy to engage in talks about the problems and that the Special Congress is the “ideal opportunity” for a review of the issues surrounding club fixtures.

“Following the GAA's recent announcement of fixture analysis of all counties, with a total of seven counties having been reviewed in two years, we are happy to engage with them to expedite a solution to the fixtures problem,” said the statement.

“We believe there are solutions to these issues. We very strongly welcome the proposal floated for a Special Congress to consider a Hurling Super 8 proposal.

“We believe it provides an ideal opportunity to also consider the issues of club fixtures and it is something we have already called for without success.

“It would be inconceivable at this stage not to include the club fixtures issue in a Special Congress and have it achieve official status under rule thereby underlining the special status of clubs and their players in the GAA.

“We believe the period before such a Congress allows the GAA to embark on the widest possible consultation to engage players and we are committed to making our channels available to achieve that.”

The players’ representative body, which also failed in its bid for official recognition at Congress in Croke Park back in February, will hold further discussions with senior GAA officials later today in which they will set out three fixture options.

The results of a survey recently conducted by the Club Players’ Association, the second of its kind, received 3,741 responses over the Bank Holiday weekend.

It revealed that:

- 86 per cent are not happy with the way in which club fixtures are run in their county

- 71 per cent would favour a tiered All-Ireland Senior Football Championship

- 74 per cent would be happy to see the All-Ireland club finals played over one weekend in December

- 56 per cent want the inter-county provincial Championships scrapped

GAA Football

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