In an end of season statement, the Club Players’ Association (CPA) has confirmed their firm and unequivocal support for a “County First” approach to the 2021 Fixtures Programme, currently being considered by Croke Park.
A spokesperson for the group said, “There is still great concern and uncertainty around the pandemic, and we are nowhere near what we would consider ‘normal’ condition for training and matches.
“The health and well being of players and their families absolutely has to be the primary driver in deliberations.
“Given the numbers involved and the practicalities, not to mention the impact on participation levels and underage games, it is entirely logical that clubs must start after county competitions have concluded.”
“The six counties in Ulster are heading into a restrictive lockdown that will place significant restrictions on all sport including training and matches, until at least the start of February.
“In the rest of Ireland, it will be impossible to plan or play any club competitions until Level 2 or lower is implemented country wide.
“This means that it will most likely be towards the end of March at the earliest before clubs could even hope to return, taking account of statements made by the Tanaiste (Leo Varadkar) this week.
Ø If clubs are forced to go first, their entire season will be condensed into a short period in late Spring/early Summer. This will inevitably mean pressure on club players to train with county panels as the Inter county season beckons.
Ø Potentially club Provincial Championships would be lost for a second year. This is the flagship club competitions and it is unthinkable they would be sacrificed for two consecutive years.
Ø We are happy to lend our voice in support of the county chairmen, inter-county players and, most of all the club players, to the majority consensus that “County First” should prevail in 2021.
We would like to wish GAA players, officials and supporters a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.
We are proud of the contribution that the GAA and the other Gaelic games have made in bringing hope to parishes, villages, and communities in dark and difficult days.
Four years ago we presented the split-season proposal to Croke Park and it wasn’t duly considered.
Now the consensus from everyone is that it is the best solution for our fixtures crisis.
We commend GAA officials for working on this concept, we have said since day one, it’s not about who’s right but what’s right.”
In looking forward, we also would hope to see an end to elected officials using their county platform to engage in unbecoming, Trumpesque, childish rants at bodies like the CPA as was noted in Wexford from the outgoing Chairman. These antics undermine the dignity of the Office and reflect poorly on the GAA.
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