Galway intermediate football club Cárna/Caiseal have called on the county’s football board to remove relegation this year in the interest of rural clubs.
Already down five players from their panel last year, the small Connemara club is fearful that coronavirus could prevent them from fielding a team in the competition.
A number of Connemara clubs had looked for relegation to be postponed this season due to the impact the pandemic could have on their playing numbers.
However, tomorrow evening’s senior and intermediate football draw is set to take place in the Claregalway Hotel with one club per grade being relegated and promoted. Only senior clubs are permitted to attend the event due to social distancing.
A statement from the club, which questioned the fairness of the football board’s decision to retain a form of relegation, read: “The Cárna/Caiseal GAA club are very dissatisfied with the Galway football board for their decision to not to accept the motion put forward by clubs that there would be no relegation from any football grade in 2020.
“The question was raised at a board meeting a fortnight ago and many clubs supported the motion. Our club sent an email to the football board last week asking for all relegations from all grades for 2020 be removed and the answer we received was not satisfactory. The GAA is at the heart of any community and if relegation occurs it would have a devastating effect on the community and our club.
“The Galway football board is not promoting fairness or the spirit of the GAA at all here. The pressure should not be put on players to play or not to play and the mental health of players should be taken into consideration as they fear spreading the infectious disease to their family at home. They do not take into account the smaller clubs that might not be able to field a team if another outbreak of the Covid-19 occurs.”
Cárna/Caiseal are still hopeful the board may change their mind to follow the example of counties such as Waterford, Tyrone, and Dublin or that Croke Park may intervene. “As it stands, five out of our 22-player panel in 2019 are not coming back to us this year,” their press release continues. “A small parish like us can’t compete after losing so many players.
“The other big question is: what if Covid-19 breaks out in a football community and that team is unable to field a team due to restrictions, will they lose their football status due to no fault of their own?
“Cárna/Caiseal GAA club is calling on the Galway football board to follow the example of the Waterford, Tyrone, and Dublin county boards and to suspend all relegation from every grade in 2020.
“We also do not understand why Croke Park has not instructed county boards not to force relegation on clubs while they make huge sacrifices to open pitches and to try to attract players back to play.”