GAA Football

CPA: New fixtures body must be trusted to look at bigger picture

John Horan has established a new fixtures review task force that will look at the issues around the GAA's fixture calendar over the coming months. Pic Philip Walsh

THE Club Players’ Association said that it has to trust the new body set up to look at the GAA’s fixture crisis to “look at the bigger picture”.

Referencing “scepticism in the press and on social media” since the body’s make-up was confirmed, CPA chairman Micheál Briody said that the new task force would be judged by its outcomes.

Colm O’Rourke was the most high-profile sceptic, writing in his weekly newspaper column that the first meeting of the committee “should either be in Knock or Lourdes, because a miracle will be needed for the radical change that cannot be agreed to by people who are being paid to protect sectoral interest”.

Initially mooted as an independent body, the 11-man assembly is chaired by GAA management committee member Eddie O’Sullivan and contains the chair of the GAA’s national fixture analysts committee, Micheal Martin.

John Prenty (Connacht Council secretary), John Costello (Dublin CEO) and Kevin O’Donovan (Cork CEO) are also involved along with CPA representative, Michael Higgins.

Current Down hurling boss Ronan Sheehan (who will represent the GPA), Derry vice-chairman Stephen Barker on behalf of Ulster CCC and Post-Primary schools chairman Seamus Woods are also involved.

“We note the scepticism shared in the press and on social media in recent weeks that this Task Force will not fix the fixtures, because there are too many vested interests in the room,” said Briody.

“But we have to afford the respect to the members of the Task Force that they will look at the bigger picture and take a long term view of the GAA, as opposed to any perceived vested interests.

“There is a lot at stake here and we believe it is fair to judge the Task Force on their achievements at the end of this process.”

The Meath native added that the committee’s formation was “an unprecedented opportunity to accomplish real change”, and that it should “give grounds for optimism that the fixtures calendar will be addressed, root and branch from the bottom up”.

The committee has been tasked with having a report with recommendations ready by November ahead of the potential for rule changes to be voted on at Congress 2020.

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