Páraic Duffy: "The voice of club players has been heard"

He was speaking to Oisin Langan at today's GAA Congress

BY Cian Roche 14:00 Saturday 25 February 2017, 14:00 25 Feb 2017

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Páraic Duffy has unequivocally stated that with the passing of today's motions at the 2017 GAA Congress, "the voice of the club players has been heard".

The GAA's director general watched on as three motions regarding championship restructure were passed this morning, including the abolition of  replays in the championship - excluding Provincial and All-Ireland finals - as well the introduction of the controversial 'Super 8' proposal.

"It's a great vote 66 and two-thirds is a very high bar to reach and I'm pleased that there's been a great debate within the association for the last eight months about this," he told Newstalk Sport's Oisin Langan. "We've read a lot, talked a lot and I think it's a good democratic decision.

"We're trying something new and if it doesn't work out I'll be the first to say let's move on to something else. I think it's a sensible decision by the GAA. Let's see how it goes. 

"We have to be prepared to try something and I think this is worth the experiment. If after three years we find it hasn't delivered we had hoped it would deliver, then we'll try something else."

The new restructure proposals will be in place as an experiment for three years and Duffy insists the motions were passed with the club players in mind.

"I think the voice of club players has been heard today in the motions that were passed. There's no doubt about that.

"The motions in relation to extra-time, the Christy Ring for All-Ireland championships, are for club players. I think it's clear the club players were heard."

The newly-formed Club Players Association (CPA) is seeking recognition from the GAA at Congress and they were unable to speak on behalf of the reported 20,000 players that they represent.

Dermot Earley, chief executive of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) criticised the motion claiming that there wasn't enough consultation with the players. 

"I totally disagree with that, I was totally surprised by that comment. This document was first published last August, there's been a huge amount of consolation.

"That just doesn't stand up for me. I was disappointed with that comment. If that's Dermot's view, so be it."

Asked his opinion on reports that the GAA went around trying to sell the 'Super 8' proposal to every county board, he said: "That couldn't be more wrong and I find that kind of reporting disappointing. The truth was that at a meeting of county chairmen I said 'if any county would like me to go and talk about the proposals to the county board, I will do so'.

"I got nine invitations, I went to the nine and they were very robust exchanges. I'm sure not all of the counties I went to supported the proposals, but it was all part of the discussion. No more than that."

Off The Ball

Newsletter

The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week