The Gaelic Players Association has said it is the responsibility of each county board to ensure their county teams do not recommence collective training before September 14.
With Croke Park having washed their hands of the situation by stating they will not be imposing penalties on any inter-county team which trains collectively before September 14, the GPA has laid responsibility at the doorstep of county boards.
Anecdotal evidence exists of counties having already breached the training ban and with this likely to continue over the coming weeks and months, the GPA has reiterated their call for county panel get-togethers to be covered by the GAA player injury scheme. Insurance cover provided by this scheme is exclusive to club teams at the moment and will not extend to county panels until September 14.
The GPA also want inter-county players to be allowed to train with their county once their involvement in the club championship is at an end.
“The last week has seen significant progress being made towards the return of our games across the country. It is hugely positive to see pitches open again and teams getting back together. However, that air of optimism has been eroded somewhat by the ‘club v county’ narrative that has developed. This is very unfortunate, given a few short weeks ago we had the very real possibility that we would not see any action in 2020,” said a GPA statement released today.
“2020 is a year that requires compromise and collaboration to complete what has been a very difficult year for all.
“As things stand and for complete clarity, the roadmap clearly highlights that there should be no collective inter-county training prior to September 14. However, it would be highly negligent of us, and utterly wrong, as the body charged with looking after inter-county player welfare, not to seek to have any such training covered by the GAA Injury Benefit Scheme, should these sessions be sanctioned by their respective counties.
“It is the role of each county board to ensure that these training sessions are not sanctioned prior to the agreed dates. However, the GPA believes that common sense should prevail, allowing players to return to inter-county training once their involvement in club championship action is complete. We presented this viewpoint to the Covid-19 Advisory Committee and the GAA’s Central Competition’s Control Committee (Friday, June 19) and it is something that we will continue to work towards.
“It should be noted that in the midst of the negative discourse surrounding ‘club v county’, inter-county players are incredibly proud and passionate to represent their communities; as a player, it has always been club and county, not club v county.
“The health of the inter-county game remains a vital component of the GAA’s success. It is vital in terms of showcasing our games and in providing an arena for the sports’ highest performers. It is also essential in terms of the unifying effect it has on clubs and communities and the sense of pride in place if offers. It is loved by GAA fans up and down the country and further afield and needs to be respected.”