All Stars to merge with GPA awards
A decision on a new sponsor for the GAA All Stars scheme, which is likely to be merged in some way with the GPA scheme, will be announced in the next couple of weeks.
Opel, the current sponsors of the GPA awards, which have been in existence since 2006, are favoured to fill the void left by Vodafone and that will mean just one team selection at the end of each season instead of the current two.
The most likely scenario is that the GPA will continue to oversee the Player of the Month and the Player of the Year awards, with the GAA looking after the team itself.
Traditionally, GAA correspondents have selected the All Star teams as the awards were originally the brainchild of writers in the early 1970s. But an involvement in the selection process of past players is also under consideration.
However, future tours are under threat because of finance, GAA president Christy Cooney (above) said yesterday. "We're working away, we're hoping to have announcement in the next two weeks," he said.
"Discussions are taking place and we'll know then where the GAA/GPA function is going to go in the future.
"We're looking at all the options, what's best for the GPA, what's best for the association and how we can develop a relationship with a suitable sponsor. There will be a tour this year certainly. We have a commitment to San Francisco. As we look at a new All Stars going forward everything goes into the pot and what's best in the interests of the association and the players."
Under the terms of the GPA scheme, award winners have received €2,500 each for promotional rights attached to the scheme, while the Players of the Year in hurling and football have driven away in new Opel cars.
It will be interesting to see if that situation remains now that the GAA and GPA are tied together by an agreement signed in February.