Farrell calls for Provincial structure to be reexamined

GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell says that the debate to scrap the Provincial Championships and move to an open-draw system should be re-examined.

GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell says that the debate to scrap the Provincial Championships and move to an open-draw system should be re-examined.

Farrell today announced the launch of the Gaelic Players Association's new employment service - www.gpajobs.com - and business mentoring programme for players, www.mentors.ie.

He believes that it is now time to examine whether the provincial system still holds its merits, but not at the expense of scrapping provincial councils and the 'traditional GAA administration structure'.

“I think it's a debate now that needs to be had," Farrell said.

His comments follow last Sunday's Derry v Monaghan encounter in the Ulster SFC which saw plenty of off-the-ball antics.

“I know when players look back on the game themselves they won't be too happy with some of the behaviour that went on," Farrell said.

"But has it been blown out of proportion?

"I think we'll be best placed to look back over the duration of the Championship and make a judgement on it then. To see how the Championship was and how the fare was throughout the summer.”

“Ulster football is Ulster football," he added. "Maybe there is time to open things up. We are taking soundings from players on that type of thing and it will be interesting to see what the feedback is.”

Farrell also hits out at those who believe that referees are to blame and feels that these energies would be better off channelled towards consistent application of the rules by the governing bodies, rather than hitting out at individual performances.

“It's really, really difficult to be the man in the middle and I'm not an advocate of any referee being made a scapegoat of," Farrell said.

"Yes they do make mistakes and yes one of the big issues is the level of consistency and the application of rules across the board but that's not necessarily an individual referee's responsibility. It needs a co-ordinated approach and I think the debate was very useful last year.”

And Farrell believes that if the GAA plans future changes of its playing rules that players need to be consulted widely; not just county boards and their club delegates.

“Let's see what the summer brings and then sit down and review the situation," Farrell said. "And if there is changes to be made they need to get out to the players."

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