CPA want decision on Tier-2 championship to be deferred

Club players’ body in favour of an immediate review of the national games programme

Michael Briody: “We are relying on and expect county delegates to address this issue head on.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Michael Briody: “We are relying on and expect county delegates to address this issue head on.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

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The Club Players Association (CPA) has called on this weekend’s meeting of the GAA’s Central Council to defer any decision on the introduction of a new Tier-2 football championship until after an “immediate review” is conducted of the national games programme.

There are two proposals up for consideration which, if passed this weekend, and then at GAA Congress next February, could be put in place by 2020.

The GAA’s own Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) is proposing the Tier-2 competition would begin after two rounds of the qualifiers and would only included Division 3/4 teams who fail to advance to the third round of qualifiers.

There is also a proposal to separate Division 1/2 and Division 3/4 teams after the provincial championships, unless that Division 3/4 team reaches a provincial final.

However CPA chairman Micheál Briody has called on all Central Council delegates to support a motion from Roscommon GAA that an immediate review is conducted of the GAA national games programme – and that any decision on the Tier-2 competition is deferred until the so-called weaker counties are provided for as part of a “blank canvas” solution.

“We are relying on and expect county delegates to address this issue head on,” says Briody.

“For almost two years now the CPA has called for an immediate ‘blank canvass’ approach to fixing the fixtures. Some progress has been made but the lack of real urgency is not acceptable in our view.

“Behind the recent ESRI and CPA findings and submissions are the lives of young sports people. Years and sports careers pass very quickly as this report actually highlights. This in our view places an enormous requirement and responsibility for leadership and decisive action.

Alarming developments

“We are witnessing a number of alarming developments in the GAA. We were told that no change to the playing calendar could be considered for three years yet here we are with two proposals on the table for Tier 2 competitions in football.

“There is inherent value in a multi-tiered football structure but it beggars belief that this is being brought to the table as yet another incremental change that could sound the death knell for summer club football which is already practically extinct.

“This comes on the back of the GAA-sanctioned breaches of its own rules by allowing tournament matches involving Tier 1 hurling counties in Australia and the United States.

“In some respects yes, that is a matter for individual counties, but it sends out a message that the hierarchy is able to cherry pick its own rulebook. One of the recent findings among players was that they needed a break.”

There is also a proposal to extend the ‘winner-on-the-day’ match practice rule in include the Joe McDonagh Cup final, the All-Ireland hurling championship preliminary quarter-finals, and all knock-out league games. 

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