Pat Spillane has firmly backed the Gaelic Player Association's stance on the ongoing stand-off with the GAA over mileage expenses.
Over the weekend, some teams boycotted media duties to highlight the issue, with the GPA saying it was "extremely disappointed" that the GAA is seeking to continue cost-savings on player expenses and allowances introduced during the pandemic in 2022.
CEO of the GPA Tom Parsons told Allianz League Sunday that they were prepared to go further, and speaking on the RTÉ GAA Podcast, Spillane was totally understanding of their position.
"Down through the years, I haven’t been a supporter of the GPA," said the Kerry man.
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"I felt that their focus was too often on generating revenue and commercial ventures and maybe at times I felt there wasn’t transparency about where all the money was going or whatever.
"But, you know what? I’m with them on this, I really am with them on this. I see where they’re coming from.
"I think it all comes down to respect. This is about respect. Respect for the inter-county players, giving them fair expenses, making sure their expenses are paid on time. In these difficult times financially, making sure that they’re not out of pocket.
"I think they deserve fair play, they need to be shown respect and I think the GAA needs to get their act together and heed the warning from Tom Parsons and the GPA."
In a statement provided to RTÉ Sport, the GAA said the majority of the cost of mileage for inter-county teams is borne by individual county boards with a subvention provided by the association centrally, and there remains only one difference from the agreement in place prior to the pandemic.
"The sole difference between the 2022 charter, and the charter that was in place pre-Covid, is that the 65c per mile expense rate provided for in the new charter covers up to four collective training sessions/games per week only.
"The mileage rate for any additional sessions now requires to be negotiated locally between each county and their players."
Spillane, however, said that some teams may opt to meet more than that whilst keeping player welfare in mind.
"Let's talk about welfare," said the eight-time All-Ireland winner.
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"Are we suggesting that there are loola managers out there and loola backroom teams who are flogging these inter-county players to death? They’re not.
"The inter-county management set-ups at every county, in terms of strength and conditioning, in terms of player welfare, in terms of looking after the player, they’re absolutely brilliant.
"There isn’t going to be a case of 'oh, they’re going to train seven nights a week for the next three months.’ Players nowadays are really well looked after.
"If you’re really serious about player welfare, well maybe the GAA needs to look at itself and look at the fixtures schedule that forces some of these players to play, in the last couple of months, three matches in the space of six and seven days.
"That’s more of a scandal than maybe a manager sometimes looking to train five times one week and maybe two times the next week."
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