GPA chief dismisses talk of drive towards professionalism

Paul Flynn says criticism of the players’ union is based upon ‘one big misconception’

GPA chief executive Paul Flynn says  he feels there is a general misunderstanding about the intentions of the players’ union. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

GPA chief executive Paul Flynn says he feels there is a general misunderstanding about the intentions of the players’ union. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

 

Paul Flynn has offered a stiff rebuttal of criticism of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), insisting the group isn’t driving towards professionalism and is often misunderstood.

The GPA chief executive was speaking in response to fresh barbs thrown at the inter-county players union by pundit and Meath great Colm O’Rourke who raised various concerns with the body.

Those concerns ranged from the ongoing staging of the Super 11s tournament, to the GPA’s fundraising activities in the US, to its apparently “Dublin-dominated” outlook back at home, and its very relationship with the GAA.

O’Rourke’s assertion is that the GAA, which partly funds the GPA, has “no control over the GPA, in fact the tail is giving the dog a right good wagging” though Flynn moved to defend the organisation.

“There has been a lot of criticism, I’m very open to criticism,” said Flynn. “My issues lie when there are inaccuracies in the things that are said, or there is subjectivity. I like to deal more in facts and evidence.”

The former Dublin star said he feels that there is a general misunderstanding about the intentions of the GPA.

“There is one big misconception out there at the moment, with the players, that we’re out of control, that we are trying to drive this to professionalism,” said Flynn.

Changing the culture

“When I finish up in this job, the biggest thing – I don’t like using the word legacy – is around changing the culture around how inter-county players deal with their careers.

“I would love to see a time when inter-county players don’t have to retire because their job has got too demanding. That, ultimately, would be what I would see as being success. That is not professionalism, that is purely about their professions.”

Meanwhile, Flynn said he shares the Club Players Association’s (CPA) fears about any move towards retaining the status quo in the football championship.

The CPA last week withdrew from the GAA’s Fixtures Calendar Review task force, claiming their ideas were largely ignored and that the GAA appears to be leaning towards retaining a mildly tweaked version of the current championship model.

“What they have done by leaving is really shine a spotlight on this (task force) group,” said Flynn. “It is going to be very difficult for administrators to go with the ‘as is’ version, when they can see that the club players don’t want it and the county players don’t want it. Yet they could do it. They have done that before, they have gone against the players time and time again.”

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