Club Players Association (CPA) chairman Micheál Briody has urged the GAA to be brave and to finally implement a club friendly calendar for the 2021 season.
Speaking on Midwest Radio’s Sunday Sport Show, Briody called for the GAA to outline their plans for 2021 “very soon, in the next month or two”.
He said this year’s abbreviated club and county campaigns can be the “catalyst” for change and argued that reverting to the status quo for 2021 would be a “lazy option”.
Briody said it appears to him that a “split season” may be how the GAA proceeds and urged top officials including director general Tom Ryan to realise “the time is now” for real change.
“The GAA now have to come out very soon, in the next month or two, and say what the road is ahead for 2021,” said Briody.
“All the reports are there, all the solutions are there, there are plenty of solutions. We’re probably looking at a split season, that may be back on the table because they don’t seem to be able to put in the appropriate sanctions and rules to put in designated (club) periods.
“They now have to act, 2020 is going to be the catalyst for exploring this. County boards and clubs are suffocated by the need to fundraise continuously to keep county and club teams going for unnecessary lengths of time.
“If they run 2021 as they did (what was planned for) 2020 and 2019, it will be a disaster, that’s a lazy option.
“The director general and the president, their time is now, they need to implement change or they need to be held accountable to the Association.
“That’s where we really see it, it’s all there. There’s no need for another report. That’s akin to Father Ted asking, ‘What’s to be said for another Mass?’ The time is now. They have all the information, they just need to go and implement it.”
Briody said that as far back as the MacNamee report of 1971, and the more recent Strategic Review Committee report of 2002, it was identified that “there is a problem with fixtures in the GAA”.
And he also responded to the GAA’s warning to county board chairpersons that breaches of the inter-county training ban could result in stiff sanctions.
County training isn’t permitted until September 14 and describing the rule breaks as “cheating” and “no different than doping”, Briody said the GAA had to get tough as anecdotal evidence of secret training emerged.
“It’s a bit like saying the speed limit is 120kph but if you break it you won’t get penalty points. What’ll happen? Everyone will be going around speeding,” he said.
“Rules need sanctions and they need appropriate sanctions. An appropriate sanction for a rule break like this is not a €100 or €200 fine for the county board, there’s plenty of benefactors that will come in and cover that.
“An appropriate sanction is to be kicked out of the competition that you’re trying to steal a march on and suspension of the inter-county manager and the county board chairman for allowing that to happen.”