Cork release details of rejected document

Thu, Feb 7, 2008, 00:00

The Cork county board have this evening released details of the proposed reconciliation document which was rejected by both the Cork football and hurling panels.

Earlier this week Kieren Mulvey, chairman of the Labour Relations  Commission, and Paraic Duffy, Director General of the GAA, travelled to Cork in the hope of bringing an end to the ongoing impasse between the Cork county board and senior panels.

Both parties, with Mulvey and Duffy mediating, negotiated for nearly 10 hours into the early hours of Wednesday morning but the talks ended without reaching a resolution.

The comprehensive document drawn up by both parties was subsequently rejected when put to the complete football and hurling panels last night.

The county board today said it was "deeply disappointed that the protracted discussions aimed at resolving the
dispute . . .  has not resulted in a settlement".

It has emerged that the players had now agreed to abide by football manager Teddy Holland's appointment, previously a stumbling block, but were instead seeking the removal of his four selectors.

"It is important to note that the players during negotiations were  prepared to accept Teddy Holland as coach," read today's statement from the Cork board. "But the players  representatives then indicated that they wanted the four selectors  appointed by the board to be removed. The removal of the four selectors  was unacceptable to the county board negotiating team."

Barring an 11th hour intervention it now appears certain the Cork  hurlers will forfeit this weekend's National Hurling League fixture against Kilkenny.

Full Statement on behalf of Cork County Board on Cork  Players Dispute

The Cork county board of the GAA have stated that it is deeply disappointed that the protracted discussions aimed at resolving the above dispute which has involved Mr Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of the Labour Relations Commission, as an Independent Facilitator, and the Director General of the GAA Paraic Duffy, has not resulted in a settlement.

A Memorandum of Understanding, which was accepted at a previous session of the negotiations was further enhanced with additional proposals from Mr Mulvey and Mr Duffy, which the negotiators on behalf of the Cork county board accepted as being the basis for a reasonable settlement.

The following key points make up the basis of the proposed agreement between Cork county board and the players representatives which was put forward by Kieran Mulvey and Paraic Duffy on 7th February 2008:

A:  Future Engagement

1. Establish a consultative committee representative of the players and the board (six representatives from each) to meet quarterly to discuss and agree on matters received from either side relative to the players welfare and interests and issues that arose in 2007.  The first meeting shall take place within one month of this agreement. 

2. The committee shall be chaired by an independent person agreed by the mediator.

3. The procedures, minutes and recorded conclusions shall be undertaken and determined by the chairperson.

B: Current Impasse

The players and the board both acknowledge that recent events regarding the procedures adopted in appointing a new county senior football coach has led to fundamental differences between them. Without ascribing any judgment on the relative views of the parties on this matter and in the interests of achieving an agreeable solution to the current impasse it is recommended that:

1. Appointments Committee(s)  Sept / Oct  2008

The county board negotiating team will recommend to county committee 2008 that the appointments committee (s) of September / October 2008 consist of seven members. This will include two current (2008) players and five others determined by  the county board.

2. Review in September / October 2008 of method of appointment of selectors

The county board negotiating team will recommend that the executive committee recommends to the county committee  that the appointed coaches in September / October 2008 be given the right to choose their own selectors.  This situation will be monitored by the proposed consultative committee under the independent chairman.

3. Current Football Management

Notwithstanding that the senior football coach and selectors have been appointed by the county board for a two-year term, it is recommended that these appointments be reviewed by the appointments committee at the end of Cork's involvement in the 2008 championship

4. Player Representation on County Committee

A players' representative shall be appointed on the county committee (board), with full speaking rights.

C:  Relationships

A number of 'relationship' issues have emerged in the course of the current stand-off between the parties. Inevitably in such a dispute and with its high-profile nature certain positions are adopted and articulated in the promotion or defence of decisions taken by either side. In order to surmount these immediate difficulties it is agreed that:

1. An additional selector be appointed to the panel of football selectors and that individual would have the support of the players (but would not be a former manager or member of the previous management team).

2. The current team manager to ensure player engagement on team performance on a regular basis throughout the league / championship.

3. No discriminatory / disciplinary action will take place against any player on the current panel in regard to this current dispute.

4. No further adverse media comment is made relating to any person (player or administrator). 

5. Both sides to engage immediately on building a new and positive working relationship between them.

6. To give effect to the above, a suitably qualified independent person shall be appointed by the mediator to work with the board and the players to address some existing issues between the sides so as to resolve internal relationships at board / player level with the objective of eliminating differences on operational issues which may exist between them.

A very key aspect of the recommendations was that notwithstanding that the senior football coach and selectors had been appointed by the county board for a two year term, it was recommended that these appointments be reviewed by the appointments committee at the end of Cork's involvement in the 2008 championship.

It is important to note that the players during negotiations were prepared to accept Teddy Holland as coach for the year 2008, with a review at the end of the championship season, but the players representatives then indicated that they wanted the four selectors appointed by the board to be removed. The removal of the four selectors was unacceptable to the county board negotiating team.   

Ted Holland & Senior Football Selectors

The county board states that both Teddy Holland and his selectors were democratically appointed in accordance with the Rules of the Association.  It deeply regrets the orchestrated media campaign which has personalised the issue in relation to Ted Holland.   He is a decent honourable man who has given long and distinguished service to the GAA. It was conceded by the players involved in negotiations that Ted Holland's competence to fulfil his role as coach is not in question. The county board fully supports the appointed coach and selectors and calls for the campaign against them to cease.    

The board appeals to the players to consider again the Memorandum of Understanding prepared by Messrs Mulvey and Duffy and to put the proposals therein to their colleagues for decision.

The county board expresses its deep appreciation to Mr Kieran Mulvey and Mr Paraic Duffy for their selfless and trojan efforts to bring a resolution to the dispute and for their continued interest.

Roibeard O Riain,
PRO Cork County Board