GPA to call on GAA Congress to reject ‘Super 8’ proposals

70% of membership against proposed reform to football championship

GAA director general Páraic Duffy. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

GAA director general Páraic Duffy. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) will be calling on this weekend’s GAA Congress to reject the so-called ‘Super 8’ phase of the football championship in what may prove a fatal blow to GAA director general Páraic Duffy’s proposed reforms.

The GPA – who represent the entire senior intercounty playing body in both football and hurling – have been canvassing their members in recent weeks, and a 70 per cent majority of this membership have come out against the Super 8; only 30 per cent agreed with Duffy’s proposal.

Several counties – including Donegal and Wexford – reported a unanimous disapproval from its GPA representatives. It follows the decision of the Club Players’ Association (CPA), who also represents club players in both codes, to unanimously reject the proposals, calling for Duffy to remove them from the Congress Clár, and the GAA instead engage on a period of consultation with the CPA.

While the GPA will give their backing to Duffy’s two other proposals, in bringing both All-Ireland finals forward to the month of August, and that the only championship matches to accommodate replays be the provincial and All-Ireland finals, the Super 8 proposal has been specially designed to liven up the latter stages of the championship. Clearly, however, the wider playing body are not in favour of it.

The GPA’s statements on these matters do carry some weight: last year, the GPA called on Congress delegates to oppose the introduction of a ‘B’ competition for weaker counties. The motion was subsequently withdrawn.

The GPA also supported the move to change the under-21 football grade to under-20 (that was accepted 68-31), and also opposed a motion to keep all championship games on free-to-air TV and block any future deals with Sky Sports and other subscription broadcasters (that was rejected 15-85).

The GPA themselves feature among the 56 motions, with motion two seeking to have the GPA represented at Annual Congress by a named GPA representative and to allow the GPA to submit a maximum of one motion to Congress.

Speaking to The Irish Times earlier this week, CPA chairman Micheál Briody expressed his concerns about the democratic process of the GAA if the views of the CPA and GPA were not heard:

“Players throughout the country have watched in growing frustration and increasing anger as their views have been systematically ignored. They have waited to see concrete club fixture proposals coming from the GAA. We have met Páraic and asked the question repeatedly ‘if not now, when will the GAA address the issue of club players and the fixtures programme?’ There has been nothing forthcoming for the club player.”

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