Sligo boss proposes rule change to end US exodus

The GAA has been urged to stop hiding from the “epidemic” of players travelling to America during the summer and address it as a matter of urgency.

Sligo manager Niall Carew has offered his own solution but is concerned that younger players are being approached while still involved in the All-Ireland championship.

This, he argues, is not right but while impacting on counties’ plans, it is the clubs that are the most severely affected, he warns.

Carew believes that if a rule were introduced making any member of an inter-county panel named at the start of the year ineligible for a transfer to play in America, it would address the issue to a considerable extent.

“I’m sure you have heard about five of our players heading to the States a few days after our defeat against Clare,” said Carew in the Sligo Champion.

“This is not any excuse from my players nor for a second do I think our lads wanted to go to America rather than play in the last 12 of the All-Ireland. I don’t for one second blame or point the finger at my players but I do point the finger at GAA headquarters.

“We have five or more students that receive either a text or a call from GAA teams in America two days before we play Clare stating ‘If you lose we will fly you out to say New York or wherever and offer you great expenses, accommodation, work etc.’ So what do you do? You try to put this to the back of your head and concentrate on the game ahead.

“However, the big problem for these players is that through no fault of their own, the seed has been planted. Subconsciously you have an out. You can’t blame the GAA in America either. You can only blame the men at the top who allow this to happen year-in, year-out.

“The big losers in all of this, of course, are the clubs and if we think about it for one second, that the situation is allowed to continue is absurd.

“If I pulled a player or players from an agreed league match there would be war from clubs and county board and rightly so. But unfortunately clubs will not have their players for championship and clubs and county board alike are powerless and that is just wrong.

“I have a simple solution for headquarters. When a county panel has named their 32-man squad for their National League campaign, these men should not be eligible for America. At least both parties will know where they stand by the first week in February.

“I don’t think this is unreasonable. You are protecting the clubs first and foremost and then the county teams and it is in that order.”


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