Duffy pledges tough penalties if closed season rule broken

DIRECTOR GENERAL Paraic Duffy has rejected claims that the GAA’s closed season rule is ‘crazy’ – and warned of harsh financial penalties for counties that break it.

Fitness expert and Armagh trainer Mike McGurn claimed the GAA has missed the point by shutting down all collective county training in the coming days for November and December.

The official winter shut down first took place last year in an effort to curb burnout.

But while McGurn argued that burn out actually comes from poor training at any time of the year, not just during winter, Duffy defended the GAA’s move.

He said it is now ‘in rule’ and noted there are no plans to revisit it.

He added that while McGurn may favour a full pre-season for players before competitive action begins in January, the GAA ‘looked at it from the point of view of players needing a rest’.

In fact, the GAA are so committed to a complete stop to inter-county action that they’ve discussed harsh penalties for counties that break the rules.

There is significant anecdotal evidence to suggest that many county teams, including senior sides, trained collectively during last year’s shut down.

“We discussed this at Central Council three weeks ago and two weeks ago during a meeting with county chairmen and secretaries,” revealed Duffy.

“We made it very clear that we intend to police it this year, that we intend to make sure it is implemented.

“If we get reports of counties breaking the rules we will make every possible effort to establish if that is true.

“We have also agreed that, if necessary, we will impose financial penalties on counties that break the rules.

“Coiste Bainisti would make a decision on the financial penalties but it would come out of their National League gate.

There will be severe financial penalties.

“Our intention this time is that if counties try to go around the rules that we will meet that head on. Chairmen and secretaries have been made aware of that. Counties got a document telling them very clearly.”

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