The Club Players Association (CPA) have criticised the GAA for going ahead with signing a new football league sponsorship before a decision is made on its future in September.
Last week, long-time sponsors Allianz announced a new five-year agreement with the GAA to back the football and hurling leagues.
The GAA insists that the deal won’t impact on the proposal to flip the football league into the summer and transform it into the Championship.
It is one of three options for the 2021 football championship, which will be debated at special congress in six months’ time.
However, CPA chairman Micheál Briody believes last week’s announcement indicates that Croke Park are not seriously considering the league flip. He further argues the agreement justifies the CPA’s decision to walk away from the task force.
“It confirms the reason why we left the fixtures review task force,” said the Meath man. “It’s that they don’t have any real intention of changing anything sizeable. For them to go ahead and agree a five-year deal for the Allianz Leagues, and we not exactly knowing the full structure of the leagues next year, just tells you that real change isn’t coming.
“We haven’t really seen anything coming out from the task force review or as regards the roadshows that were supposed to happen in February. I know they have said they’re delaying it because of special congress later this year — but they have more or less parked all of that work.
“Congress didn’t really deal anything of note coming from the task force review. More attention was paid to the presidential election.”
The other radical option on the table would see a redrawing of the provinces so that there are four provincial groups of eight. But Briody doesn’t seen that garnering support either, as he senses the GAA have already made up their mind on what SFC blueprint they want — “the improved status quo”.
“If I was Allianz, you’d like to know when the games are going to be played and exactly what you are buying for your five-year deal. You’d want confirmation of that. If the president [John Horan] was true to the membership and the [fixtures review] committee he wouldn’t be able to say that. He’d only be able to say, ‘well, let’s come back after special congress and see what’s on the table for sponsorship’.
“But for the deal to go ahead before special congress completely confirms everything that we said. That there would be no changes brought through. There will be a couple of tweaks here and there — but they have no will to really put changes through.”
For the four provincial conferences plan to go ahead, New York would have to drop out of the Connacht championship. Developments at congress on Friday would indicate to Briody that isn’t going to happen.“Now that we have an international president in Larry McCarthy, we would have put forward a proposal to remove New York from the championship. I imagine the chances of that happening are now significantly reduced.”