The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) aim to convince the GAA to allow players return to county training if their clubs exit their championships before September 14.
Croke Park have refused to permit collective inter-county training take place prior to September 14. Although they don’t intend punishing players or counties who do so, the former will not be insured.
However, the Club Players Association (CPA) have today written to GAA director general Tom Ryan asking that county teams who return to training before the agreed September 14 date be removed from the 2020 competitions and those in charge of the teams be handed down 24-week bans.
The GPA are calling for a more nuanced approach to the restart of inter-county preparations so that those without club championship fixtures can link up with their counties.
For the second time in a week, GPA chief executive Paul Flynn wrote to members: “A return to inter-county training prior to September 14 (covered under the GAA Injury Benefit Scheme) once a player’s club championship involvement comes to an end, remains on our agenda.
“The GPA will continue to engage with the GAA on this matter and also on the provision of Covid-19 protocols around inter-county match day arrangements including travel and use of facilities.”
The CPA claim to have “first-hand on the ground information” that counties are already breaching the September 14 date and have called on the GAA’s management committee to amend a rule to penalise them for breaking the club window. They are also advising that teams whose training involves overnight stays outside permitted times close to Championship games also be made forfeit home advantage in their next Allianz League game at home.
Speaking at the announcement of the revised inter-county season, GAA president John Horan said Croke Park have no plans to punish counties who return to collective training before September 14. However, they would welcome information on those that do.
“We're not intending to,” he said of issuing sanctions. “We'd like people to call them out but we're not actually intending to impose any penalties.”
Having asked the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) last Friday to finish the 2020 inter-county season before the end of December, the GPA were reasonably satisfied with the new schedule of Allianz League and Championship games.
Flynn wrote: “Considering the unique circumstances, we broadly welcome today’s master inter-county fixture announcement, which addresses and delivers upon some of those: the season will be completed in the calendar year, a closed season after the conclusion of the 2010 inter-county season and the commencement of the 2021 season will be built into the calendar and players will have at least three weeks, and in many cases four weeks, between their involvement in club championship and their first inter-county championship match.”
However, the GPA are concerned about the structures of some lower-tier hurling championships and the threat of relegation after losing one game. “We are also seeking clarifications as regards the format of the Christy Ring Cup and Nicky Rackard competitions.”