GPA chief Earley: 'Super 8' vote shows disconnect between GAA administration and players

A disappointed GPA chief executive Dermot Earley has disputed claims that the body were properly briefed on the new All-Ireland senior football championship, which will come in next year, writes John Fogarty.

Earley has spoken of the “disconnect” between GAA administration and inter-county players after 74% backed the “Super 8” model in contrast to the lowly 30% of football panels that endorsed it.

GPA chief executive Dermot Earley.

GAA director general Páraic Duffy maintained they had been advised but Earley said: “I’m disappointed on behalf of our players - the big issue is they felt they weren’t consulted. Páraic would have felt that there was a lot of consultation that took place, but there’s still a disconnect between going down and speaking to players and going and speaking to clubs.

“We actually surveyed our players, got down to each and every county panel, and they came back quite unanimously that they were against this. The so-called lower tiered county felt there was nothing in it for them. In hindsight, the Laois proposal, at least there were more games at the start of the championship. It’s disappointing for me because the motion that affects our inter-county players most was ignored.”

Playing rules committee chairman Jarlath Burns also dismissed the claim county footballers hadn’t been asked for their opinion on the new structure. Earley said: “They might have said they consulted with everyone but they didn’t get down and consult with the players, which is what we did.”

Earley also spoke about why the GPA left it so late to canvass opinion. “There was a delay in getting it out there, but at the same time it was quite clear that 70% of the players came back not in favour of this. I’m just disappointed that voice was ignored.

“One of the arguments is that ‘we have consulted with the county boards’, but did they actually go and consult with the players? We certainly asked the players.”

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