By Jim O’Sullivan
THE concept of pay-for-play "is not a runner" in the GAA.
Michael Delaney, who has been the Leinster Council Secretary for the past 30 years, spells this out clearly in his report to next Monday’s annual convention in Navan, while also calling for urgent dialogue between the GAA and the GPA.
Admitting to a difficulty in understanding what the GPA stands for, he deduces from the anecdotal evidence that they have the ambition to obtain financial benefit for their members.
"They refuse to call it pay-for-play, but it is difficult to spot the subtle difference," he writes.
Pointing out that he makes his living from the GAA, Mr Delaney comments that he has always staunchly supported players and their rights at all levels. Their games are the "hobbies" of players, from Junior C to Allstar and their players should be treated with respect - and in equal measure.
"Any deviation from this principle has more potential to destroy the GAA than any of the well documented problems encountered during the last century and a quarter," he says.
"If the GPA genuinely represents all players I see huge scope for them. There are real issues out there like genuine loss of income through injury, facilities for training, excessive playing demands on players, lack of proper games schedules, poor planning of fixtures, genuine hardship of retired players, physical and verbal abuse on and off the playing pitches, lack of consistency in penalties, sponsorship opportunities, trust funds, insurance provision and a host of other matters.
"Public spats in the media will achieve very little progress. There is room for dialogue between all the parties concerned and I would appeal to them to get it up and running sooner rather than later."