The GAA has followed up on last weekend's decision to penalise counties who break inter-county return to training protocols.

Following a chairpersons’ conference call last Friday, leading GAA officials underlined how there would be repercussions if county boards allowed their senior teams to train collectively, or in pods, before the agreed 14 September date.

This came after a fortnight of anecdotal evidence that many county set-ups had already resumed conditioning, non-contact and indeed contact training, thereby potentially robbing clubs of their key players ahead of the resumption of local championships from 17 July.

There were private admissions by a small number of counties that inter-county senior teams had already returned to group training.

Last Friday, county chairpersons were told that clubs now had to report any county team who broke that protocol by making a formal complaint in an official manner.

The chain of command would see such a report reach the county chairperson who would have 48 hours to act and each chairperson was told that the buck would stop with them. The consequences would include fines, penalties, and even disqualification.

This conference call set the tone for the weekend and in the following days a number of county team managers were contacted by chairpersons who directed and confirmed that no training - in any circumstances - could resume before 14 September.

Last night, Croke Park followed up on those calls by officially communicating with clubs.

"If a club has a grievance in relation to the availability of their County players, or feel a County team in their County are holding collective training sessions before September 14th, they are encouraged to submit a formal complaint to Croke Park." 

In an email sent to clubs, the GAA once more highlighted Rule 7.2 (e) from its official guide. As revealed by RTÉ Sport last Friday, this rule concerns 'Misconduct Considered to have Discredited the Association'.

Penalties for breaking this rule for any member included a minimum eight-week suspension but debarment and expulsion from the Association may also be considered. Teams can also be punished in similar fashion with future deduction of points in league competitions also possible.

The email said: "In light of some of the challenges posed by a very different fixture schedule this year, a discussion involving the GAA President, Director General and our county chairpersons took place last Friday.

"The sole purpose of this call was to address anything that would undermine our clubs having full access to their players in the window we have identified for club activity this summer.


Split season is the change GAA needs, CPA says 2020 must be 'catalyst'


"Our County Chairpersons have agreed to assist us in ensuring that these arrangements are observed in an effort to preserve the integrity of the club window and ensure a common starting point and a level playing field for county teams. Individually and collectively, it was agreed that every county will commit to facilitating full availability of club players for the period and, specifically, that inter-county training will not take place before September 14th."

The email also confirmed that there would be no GAA Player Injury Scheme cover or expenses in place for inter-county training until that date.

"If a club has a grievance in relation to the availability of their County players, or feel a County team in their County are holding collective training sessions before September 14th, they are encouraged to submit a formal complaint to Croke Park," the note added.

"Any such correspondence must come from the official Secretary email address of the club. The county in question will be forwarded the correspondence and asked to respond to the issues raised within 48 hours of receipt."

Listen to the RTÉ GAA Podcast at Apple Podcasts, SoundcloudSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

RTĖ Sport · RTÉ GAA Podcast: Oisín McConville and Donal Óg Cusack on club v county strife, plus New York vision