Club Players Association (CPA) chief Micheál Briody says letting a chance to split the GAA season between club and county would be unforgivable.
The CPA chairman insists that there is a growing realisation that this is the way forward for the GAA calendar, with the enforced split this year due Covid-19 showing it can be done.
With the Fixtures Review Taskforce due to meet in the coming days, the club group are calling on their members to capitalise on the growing momentum for real change.
Briody says in a CPA statement: “Circumstances have presented the GAA with a golden opportunity to trial a clear split in the season.
“The response from clubs, players and supporters has shown definitively there is merit in giving club and county their own clear windows, with the right governance structures in place.
“It may have taken different timelines and different routes to get to this point but there is a growing realisation that a split season approach is the best solution to fixing the fixtures.
“It is reassuring now to see that the GAA, GPA and CPA have come to similar conclusions.
“We have always said it is about what is right, not who is right.
“The current consensus has come about as a result of circumstances and the threat to our games posed by the disruption and uncertainty of Covid-19.
“But with any threat there is also very often an opportunity, and if the Taskforce can build on the current opportunity with evidence from the enforced split, then the GAA has a once in a generation chance to Fix the Fixtures.
“Our Association has the opportunity to come out of this dreadful scenario, stronger, better and more united than before.
”Redrawing the season will require a blank canvas approach, adds Briody: “The fact that the Taskforce is willing to consider additional season templates is reassuring.
“The GPA’s very positive adoption of a season split (with inter-county lasting just 23 weeks in total) to accommodate fully club and county programmes is commendable and we strongly welcome it.
“We also commend the GPA and the GAA for acting now on the recent ESRI research they jointly commissioned, where 40% of GPA members stated they choose the wrong career path in order to play the games they love and enjoy.
“We know the work that is involved in extensive research, drafting and taking a critical view of different calendar models because we spent time doing that ourselves from a blank canvas.
“Eleven models were drawn up by a team led by Liam Griffin. That work was given to GAA management to help the process.
“Within that work we have versions of the split season which we will resend to the Fixtures Task Force to review in the coming weeks.
“The idea of the split season is more appealing and makes more sense because in our current situation we can see the profile the club game attracts, the pride it generates and the popularity of games in summer.
“We believe there are grounds for cautious optimism. An opportunity has presented itself, it would be unforgivable to let it pass”.
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