CPA Chairman calls for fixture congestion resolutions ahead of Congress

Micheál Briody has said that fixture proposals in their current form do not address the concerns of club players

CPA CHairman, Michael Briody

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Club Players Association (CPA) chairman Micheál Briody has called on the GAA to once again look at the fixture congestion proposals ahead of Congress this weekend, claiming that the proposed changes do not address the concerns of club players. 

The CPA, which represents over 20,000 club players, has called on the organisation to "stand up for the grassroots of the GAA and to reject this proposal in favour of a real and meaningful consultation with all stakeholders".

Mr Briody said: "Once again we ask, why can these proposals that have been promoted so aggressively and single-mindedly by the GAA not be parked, so that we can get the right solution in place for our players?

"We wrote to the President as required under rule 3.35 to formally request the right to speak at Congress on behalf of over 20,000 members. He has replied denying us the opportunity to speak stating it would be inappropriate. The Uachtarán in doing this has ignored the will of more than 20,000 CPA players.

"This was not unexpected, it is disappointing, but it doesn’t change our single minded approach in representing all our members. This isn’t about granting us speaking access. It’s about fixing fixtures.

"In effect, the proposals will create an elite 'Super 8' of counties, and it does nothing for the plight of the club player in those counties. It also does nothing for hurling.

"With a registered membership of over twenty thousand Club Players throughout Ireland, we are pleading with Congress to stand up for the grassroots of the GAA and to reject this proposal in favour of a real and meaningful consultation with all stakeholders. We need meaningful change to ease the difficulties encountered by county boards and the uncertainty felt by all players.

"We have called the GAA to take on board other stakeholders' views. They agree with us on that, as they say they are canvassing county boards for their fixtures issues. Surely common sense must prevail here? It’s about what’s right, not who is right."

Official launch of the Club Players Association, Ballyboden St Enda’s GAA. Secretary Declan Brennan (left) and Chairman Michael Briody. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The CPA is seeking official recognition at Congress with motions from Tipperary and Wexford County boards. Its 'Fix the Fixtures' campaign has seen a sharp rise in their membership since their foundation.

"Players throughout the country have watched in growing frustration and increasing anger as their views have been systematically ignored. They have waited to see concrete Club Fixture proposals coming from the GAA.

"We have met Páraic and asked the question repeatedly 'if not now, when will the GAA address the issue of Club Players and the fixtures programme?' There has been nothing forthcoming for the Club player.

"We can’t understand this reluctance to consider every alternative. This problem won't fix itself."

He appealed directly to County representatives by saying: "Ahead of this weekend's GAA Congress we are pleading with our county representatives to consider carefully the implications of the Championship proposals.

"They are already groaning under the financial weight of running county teams. Over €23m at least was spent nationally last year. The proposed Super 8 idea adds more time, more costs and doesn’t help solve the issues of club fixtures."

He added: "Our agenda is simple, and it's not about financial demands, or commercial endorsements, or putting in requests for equipment or nutrition to county boards as has been suggested. It is about players playing games. That is what the GAA was established to do. That’s what players want to do."