GAA Football

GPA and GAA meet ahead of Master Fixture schedule publication

Gaelic Players' Association Chief Executive Paul Flynn
Andy Watters

THE Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA) met with the GAA’s Central Competition Control Committee to outline their options for the 2020 inter-county season which include completion of the National Football and Hurling Leagues.

With publication of the GAA 2020 master fixtures list expected in the next week, a meeting between the bodies was held last Friday at which the GPA outlined data from their ‘Return to play’ survey to which 1,153 players had responded. Competition of the Leagues (there are two games left in the football divisions and three in some hurling divisions) received “broad support” from GPA members.

“The following options gained broad support,” explained a GPA statement.

“Completion of the football Leagues followed by a Championship where teams have a minimum of two games or (in the event time does not allow for this) completion of the Leagues followed by a straight knockout Championship.

“A 32-county open football Championship to ensure fairness across the board if the only available option is a knockout competition.

“Completion of all games/or significant hurling League games followed by a Championship where teams have a minimum of two games.”

The survey showed that while the vast majority of players were prepared to return to training and games, 17 per cent of GPA membership held concerns over health and safety and may not do so. A majority of members also supported the idea of players returning to inter-county training after their clubs have exited their county championships and they outlined their members’ views to the GAA.

“While acknowledging that they may not be able to deliver on all our priorities, they welcomed the input of inter-county players and will take it into consideration when drafting the master fixture list within the next 10 days,” read a statement.

“The GAA have positioned the inter-county competitions at the latter end of the year to maximise attendances. They now need to respect the views of the inter-county players on these issues, and as the high performing unit of our sports, the inter-county game needs to be given the respect it deserves.

“There are compromises outlined above that we would not contemplate in a regular year and that we cannot guarantee every squad or individual’s preferred outcome. However, our goal is to achieve the best possible result for as many of our members as possible, given the unprecedented circumstances in which we find ourselves.”

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