The Club Players Association (CPA) says the legitimacy of the “Super 8” addition to the All-Ireland senior football championship won’t hold up if the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) also oppose it.
According to CPA chairman Micheál Briody, at least two county panels – Donegal and Wexford – are against the plan to replace the All-Ireland quarter-finals with two round-robin groups of eight, which would increase the number of SFC games by eight. Briody has recently spoken with new GPA chief executive Dermot Earley.
Briody and fellow CPA executive member Anthony Moyles met with GAA director general Páraic Duffy and head of communications Alan Milton on Wednesday evening. There they asked Duffy to formally park his proposals, having issued a press release to that effect last month. However, the intention of Central Council is to have the motion debated first thing at Congress tomorrow week.
It was clarified at their meeting the CPA had no opposition to the recommendations to bringing forward the All-Ireland finals into August and reducing the number of replays across the championships. There had been slight confusion that the CPA were not in favour of those recommendations.
It remains the CPA’s hope the proposed alteration to the SFC format is either withdrawn or defeated and that a Special Congress is called later this year where a new structure for 2018 can be debated and decided.
“We’re against what we call the ‘Super 8’, which it’s anecdotally known as,” stated Briody. “Páraic put his points across about the championship and we put our points across. He asked us why we haven’t put our proposal forward. We said our proposal is that we sit with everyone including the GPA and have a discussion on it.
“We have fixtures plans. We had an executive meeting after meeting Páraic. Liam Griffin and Derek Kavanagh are heading up our fixtures and they have the proposals. We have them all coded and working through them against different values and we explained that to Páraic. He asked could he see them but we said we wanted the forum first. We’re not recognised yet by the GAA, we’re not going to wave them around. We’re not stupid.
“We told him the GPA in Donegal and Wexford have voted against the ‘Super Eight’. This is anecdotal information we would get from people who are GPA and CPA members. We don’t know the majority of the GPA vote but the majority of the ones we know are going against it.
“We asked Páraic if they (GPA) don’t vote and the CPA are obviously not voting for it can we consciously put something through Congress that the majority of players in the country are against?
“Páraic said, ‘well, if the county boards are for it...’. If it does go through then it just shows the broken relationship between the county boards and the players.”
The CPA have also written to GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail to request that they be afforded the opportunity to address Congress ahead of their official recognition motion put forward by Tipperary and Wexford. However, as the motion is listed number 41 and the “Super 8” motion is the first on the agenda, they won’t have the opportunity to try and convince delegates against voting for it.
As uachtarán, Farrell has the discretion to allow individuals to speak in front of Congress. “We’ve asked that Anthony and myself would be able to speak at it and we would be grateful if the opportunity is extended to us,” said Briody.
Briody read with scepticism yesterday of the GAA’s central fixtures planning committee to undertake a national audit of club fixtures with a mind to tackling related issues.
“A member of the CPA is on that committee and the first they heard of it was this (yesterday) morning. The committee has been set up for the last five years and they haven’t been effective at all. Páraic Duffy’s proposal was never put through them, it went straight to Central Council and now the week before Congress they’re being heralded as the ones going to fix the clubs.
“Look, we’ll support them and we will liaise with them. I think it’s encouraging to see that they’re doing it but they’ve always been there and they’ve been ineffective.”
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