GAA clubs have been encouraged to bypass their county board and report incidences of collective inter-county training directly to Croke Park.
In a dispatch to units of the Association late on Monday evening, clubs were urged to submit a formal complaint to Croke Park if they have “a grievance in relation to the availability of their county players or feel a county team in their county are holding collective training sessions before September 14”.
Any club making a complaint to Croke Park does not need to inform their county board they are doing so, nor were clubs encouraged to first contact county board officers in an attempt to remedy their grievance before alerting and involving Croke Park.
Any county against which a complaint is made will be forwarded the correspondence and asked by Croke Park to respond to the issues raised within 48 hours of receipt of the complaint.
The wording of the Croke Park dispatch is pertinent in that direct evidence of a county panel training collectively does not need to be presented by the aggrieved club, rather a suspicion of such. And even if a county panel does not train collectively before the permitted September 14 date, a club can still submit a complaint if one of their players is being pulled away from club training for a team meeting, analysis, or walk-through session with the county side.
Clubs have been provided with an email address they are to contact if making a complaint to Croke Park. Any such correspondence must come from the official secretary email address of the club.
The dispatch concludes by stating: “An Coiste Bainisitíochta reserves the right to pursue the matter in accordance with Riail 7.2 (e) ‘Misconduct Considered to have Discredited the Association’.”
Further to last Friday’s conference call between leading GAA officials and county chairpersons, Monday night’s dispatch will put greater pressure on county boards to ensure their county teams are not breaking the inter-county training ban.
Penalties for breaking Rule 7.2 include a minimum eight-week suspension. County chairpersons have been told they will be held responsible should their county teams be found to have trained before September 14. The possibility of their sides being thrown out of the Championship also hasn’t been ruled out.