OPINION: The CPA need to raise their voices over Congress snub

Shane Stapleton writes that the club players continue to be ignored

BY Shane Stapleton 12:26 Wednesday 22 February 2017, 12:26 22 Feb 2017

A view of the GAA Annual Congress in Carlow last year. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

This weekend, Paraic Duffy’s ‘Super 8’ proposal will go before GAA Congress and it has to fail.

For the sake of the club player — and no matter what level you play at, you begin and end as one — there has to be real change and now. Why on earth should we be yoked with a new structure that does nothing for… anyone, actually? The provincial championships will remain a boring drag, the smaller teams will be weeded out by the ‘Super 8’ and we’ll even see dead rubbers within these mini groups. Ultimately, it will rival the modern-day FA Cup for lack of romance, and meanwhile the fixtures will not have been fixed.

Bringing forward the All-Ireland finals a couple of weeks does not solve the issue of club teams training for months on end, of not knowing if they can plan a holiday, or even go for a scoop. Player drop-off will continue. When Duffy brings forward a proposal that returns meaningful change where summer clubs games have an unbreakable place in the calendar, I’ll be happy to support him.

As it stands, the Club Players Association has been denied the opportunity to speak at GAA Congress by president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl. that’s 20,000 signed up members being told their voice won’t be heard. Do we not live in a democracy? Do those 20,000 members — approximately ten times that of the GPA — not deserve a seat at the table?

In a statement released by the CPA ahead of this weekend's Congress, the association's chairman Micheál Briody said it was "disappointing" not to be allowed speak at Croke Park this weekend.

"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."

Briody also added that the views of the club player is not getting a fair hearing ahead of Congress.

"On Sunday night players watched as the Sunday Game blatantly promoted one side of the problem. The fact that RTE are a sponsor of the Championship and therefore had a conflicted interest wasn’t lost on our members as RTE licence payers."

While those at the top of the GAA pile enjoy their nice dinners, junkets, shake hands and kiss babies, this snub means that those at the coalface are being told to enjoy their lumps of coal. Let every club man and woman make themselves heard on this matter before the weekend.


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