Special Congress 2017: Micheal Briody says CPA will reserve judgment on Championship changes
THE chairman of the Club Players’ Association (CPA) says the GAA now has no excuse for not serving the best interests of club players after overseeing sweeping change in the All-Ireland football and hurling Championships.
GAA president Aogan O Fearghail hailed Saturday’s Special Congress as a good day for clubs, but Micheal Briody insist the players’ body will reserve judgment on the Championship restructuring until after they have been run out for the first time.
And he feels the GAA now has a duty “to make sure that every club player in every club up and down the country is looked after”.
“I’m happy that the CCCC have got exactly what they want for both, so now they can never say ‘look, the club situation isn’t great’ because one or other or their plans didn’t get through,” he said.
“They’ve got through what they wanted on both sides, so now they’ve got to deliver for the clubs. The football’s sorted as far as they’re concerned, the hurling’s sorted, and the third part of the holy trinity is the clubs.
“If it’s a great day for the club, let’s see what that looks like when the national fixture master-plan comes out and when we see that and see how the new hurling and football Championships kick in, and where the clubs fit in.
“We want to see an end to all uncertainty for club players, when they will and won’t be playing.”
Elsewhere, there were four motions passed on Saturday that have been welcomed by the CPA.
* That inter-county challenge games can only take place on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday after the conclusion of the National Leagues.
* That inter-county players are expected to play for their clubs within 10 days of the Championship (it was previously 13 days). This is 17 days (from 20) ahead of an All-Ireland final.
* Should a Qualifier, knock-out game in the League or provincial club championship match end in a draw after extra-time, that two additional periods of extra-time of five minutes each shall be played and, if still level after the additional extra time, the result will be determined by a free-taking competition, the rules for which will be determined by the Central Council.
* Should a replay of a provincial final end in a draw after extra-time, two additional periods of extra time of five minutes each shall be played.
“Things have come through that are positive, they just have to be enforced,” warned Briody.
“I would hope the will is there in Croke Park to make sure county boards make sure they happen.”
Director general Paraic Duffy outlined the plan to keep April as a month for clubs, even though counties will want access to their players in the run-up to the start of Championship in May.
He said: “I think it will be an awful lot better than it is at the moment.
“There’s five weeks in-a-row for clubs - they mightn’t have them for all five weeks but they’ll have an awful lot more of them than they have at the moment, that’s for definite. At the moment they don’t see them and they definitely will have them more often.
“Today we have empowered clubs and we have a better balance between clubs and inter-county.”