The Gaelic Players Association has reacted in the wake of Saturday's motion on cynical play being passed – despite the players’ body seeking to have the contentious proposal deferred until Special Congress.
And the GPA has dismissed what it claims were some media portrayals that the players body was in favour facilitating cynical play by not supporting the motion.
In correspondence to members, GPA CEO Paul Flynn gave a post-Congress update on some of the key motions that were debated on the first virtual Congress.
"You told us you were against the motion regarding cynical play, but you also raised many questions about the wording of the motion and sought clarifications," Flynn stated.
"As such we asked the GAA to defer the motion to Special Congress later this year to give the opportunity to seek those clarifications.
"This was a position shared by many counties including Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny, Kildare, Westmeath and London.
Congress 2021 has seen a sin-bin introduced in hurling and has moved the All-Ireland finals to July, while Larry McCarthy has formally taken over as GAA President - @MartyM_RTE reports pic.twitter.com/YDE1p93PzC— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) February 27, 2021
"Despite this, the motion was carried to be implemented on a trial basis this year."
The new rules means that in both codes a penalty will be awarded for a cynical foul inside the 20-metre line and the D when a goal scoring opportunity is stopped.
A yellow card and sin binning will result in hurling, where the current rules around black cards for cynical fouls in football remain in place.
"One point of note on this," Flynn added, "some media commentators have tried to portray the GPA position, as directed by you - the players - as facilitating the continuation of cynical play. What I would say to this is that you will notice that the same accusations were not made against the county boards who shared our position. You should also be in no doubt; we will never be afraid to represent your views. Our agenda is openly to represent your views which we will continue to do."
'This rule would want to be very clearly explained to managers, players, supporters'— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) March 1, 2021
Tomás Ó Sé spoke on @morningireland about the split season in the GAA and the use of penalties to deter cynical fouling
READ: https://t.co/XBYM2twRKQ #RTEGAA pic.twitter.com/oP8Uje1B0m
The GPA boss also referenced the issue of anti-doping education in his note to members.
Flynn recounted how the GPA proposed and spoke in favour of a weekend motion that would require all inter-county players to receive anti-doping education annually in advance of being part of a match-day panel.
"The motion was proposed in the interests of your welfare and also in the interests of upholding the integrity of our games. It was passed without opposition and we thank all the delegates for their support."
Flynn said the GPA also welcomed the passing of a motion which will allow for a concussion sub to be introduced to allow for assessment of head injuries off the field of play.
But he insisted that further work was needed in this area.
"This is a step in the right direction and is something we have lobbied for over a sustained period of time," he said.
"However, it is not the end of the road on this issue. It is important now that a consistent assessment protocol which is in line with the highest medical standards is also devised and implemented. We will continue our work in this regard."
Regarding the split-season which will officially come into effect from next year, the outgoing CEO said his group welcomed to split the inter-county and club games calendars from 2022.
"This is a significant positive step forward in providing defined structure to the GAA calendar, a proposal which was tabled by the GPA to the GAA Fixture Review Taskforce in July 2020.
"It has also gained support independently in other quarters. Players had voiced their concerns about the unsustainable nature of the life of an inter-county player. This is something with which the 'split-season’ will help with all inter-county games to be completed by the end of July.
"We believe this is in your best interests. It will allow you more time to concentrate on your life off the pitch but also to get the opportunity to play uninterrupted with your clubs. It is a positive move for players at both inter-county and club level. We will continue to engage with players and the GAA in advance of a Special Congress later in the year to define the football competition structures around the split season for 2022 onwards."
In conclusion, Flynn added that the GPA looked forward to working with new GAA President Larry McCarthy constructively on behalf of its members.