GPA co-founder says "poor deal" with GAA is behind current problems

Donal O'Neill speaks to Off The Ball about how position of players body has changed

BY Raf Diallo 20:31 Tuesday 19 January 2016, 20:31 19 Jan 2016

Donal O'Neill in 2000 ©INPHO/Andrew Paton

Last night, Gaelic Players Association (GPA) head of communications Sean Potts told Off The Ball that the GAA Central Council's decision to ignore their main championship structure proposal was like "a slap in the face".

On tonight's show, GPA co-founder and the organisation's former commercial director Donal O'Neill feels that the original deal that the players' representative body, which is now led by Dessie Farrell, signed with the GAA is at the root of the problem.

"I'm not convinced - and I never have been - that the issues we're seeing now are not caused by the GAA ignoring the GPA. They're caused by a lack of vision when it came to structuring a deal with the GAA and that's something that was very close to my heart," he said, before explaining that the GPA should get a percentage of commercial income.

"There simply isn't an example of a players' organisation anywhere on the planet that holds any great authority unless they have a direct, commissionable income from the commercial finances available in their sport. That has not happened with the GPA and for that reason, what the players are seeing now is essentially the manifestation of a poor deal."

O'Neill feels that "the GAA has silenced the GPA's authority with the deal they have done".

"I said it at the time. It was a very smart deal on their part but where was the very long-term vision because when we set out, we had a very long-term vision," he said. 

Listen to the full interview with Donal O'Neill on the podcast.

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