The Gaelic Players Association (GPA) have insisted on baseline testing of all inter-county panels as soon as possible or their support for the GAA inter-county season continuing will “need to be reconsidered”
Following cases in the Roscommon football and Offaly hurling camps this week after earlier situations in Armagh, Fermanagh, Kerry and Leitrim, the official players body’s National Executive Committee (NEC) have called for testing across the board at the earliest date.
The NEC have also called for “robust match-day travel guidelines that protect the player’s welfare while adhering to Covid-19 guidelines”, and all county boards and the GAA Central Council “take full responsibility for and ensuring that the training and playing environment is fully compliant with the Covid-19 protocols”.
The NEC, which had reservations about inter-county games being played at Level 5, met on Tuesday evening and informed the GAA of their thoughts on Wednesday night. They stress that the NEC’s support for the 2020 Championships “will need to be reconsidered” should “immediate and decisive action” not be taken.
In an email to players today, they state: “It was agreed that continuing to train and play while the remainder of the population is severely restricted in their movements and activities will only work if we can immediately put in place a range of measures and assurances for our members and the management and backroom teams and all others associated with playing the games in every county.”
It continued: “If steps are not taken immediately to implement testing, to introduce appropriate travel guidelines and to ensure full compliance with the existing protocols, the NEC cannot support the continuation of the 2020 season.
“The majority of you want to continue to play the 2020 season, to compete, to bring excitement & entertainment, and bring a level of normality to our communities. You value the role you play within the fabric of Irish society. This is a role you take very seriously; however, it does not supersede your health, safety, and welfare. We will keep you updated and please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the GPA team if you have any questions or queries. We will be in touch with all squads in the next 48 hours.”