/ GAA

GPA: Players would boycott 'B' Championship

Updated: Friday, 05 Feb 2016 17:31 | Comments

Under the new proposals Division 4 teams wouldn't play in the qualifiers
Under the new proposals Division 4 teams wouldn't play in the qualifiers

The Gaelic Players Association say that a "significant majority of players" in Division 4 county teams would refuse to play in the GAA's proposed 'B' Senior Football Championship.

A motion is set to go before Congress in Carlow this month which proposes diverting bottom-tier teams that have been eliminated from their provincial championships into a B competition rather than the All-Ireland qualifiers.

The proposal has already attracted significant criticism from managers such as Carlow's Turlough O'Brien and observers who feel it would merely be a revival of the Tommy Murphy Cup, which was scrapped after four years in 2008.

The effective threat of a strike from the players concerned will do little to boost the motion's chances of success.

The GPA said: "County teams directly affected by the introduction of a B football championship have agreed unanimously that they will not participate in any new structure if this format is approved by Congress later this month.

"The GPA has consulted extensively with squad reps from the Division 4 squads and a significant majority of players in each county have indicated that they will refuse to play in B Competition proposed by Central Council in January."

The players' body also called for urgent action on the issue of fixture congestion and over-training, criticising what is said was the Association's decision that "the status quo will pertain while there is a growing consensus for urgent change".

"The GPA reiterates its rejection of the claims that a more condensed county playing season would impact negatively on club fixtures and in particular state that the current, protracted format, is impacting severely on club fixture programmes," the statement said.

"One of the specific aims of the players’ proposals was to tackle the training culture that pervades the GAA at all levels.

"It is inconceivable to think that after this lengthy process the status quo will pertain while there is a growing consensus for urgent change amongst players; club and county, supporters and now administrators.

"While the GPA welcomes the debate generated over the past six months there is a need to now establish a more effective process to bring about the change required. The GPA wishes to collaborate with all stakeholders within the GAA in an effort to establish an agreed new structure as the process put in place in this instance proved highly ineffective.

"County players (through the GPA) understand that they are only one key group with views on this issue. However, we would encourage the GAA, post Congress, to establish a high powered free-standing working group to address the football competitions debacle and related issues.

"We suggest this group includes a strong representation of county players and club players who are the individuals most affected by the current procrastination. The views of county players have been communicated to the GAA in this regard."

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