Players who miss work for GAA must be compensated, insists Poland
DOWN'S Mark Poland has called for players to be adequately compensated for taking time off work, after the GAA released the confirmed 2014 National League fixtures, with Down and Armagh meeting for the first ever Friday night league game on February 7.
The Athletic Grounds date is the only game in next year's league to be hosted on a Friday night and is sure to arouse some controversy in relation to the issue of 'broken-time' payment to players who will be forced to take time off to prepare for the match.
"There are boys working for companies or men who are self-employed who will lose out," stated Poland. "That's for the GAA to come up with something to reimburse the players because you are just throwing this upon players; a Friday night game.
"They are putting players out and some might find that hard, especially the ones with families. Players who are taking half-days should be compensated in some way."
As a coach with the Down County Board, Poland does not foresee it being a huge problem for him to be granted the time off, but in his previous career as a plasterer, it would have been problematic.
"If I was plastering, you would be talking about getting away a couple of hours earlier. There will definitely be boys needing to take half days. This is the sacrifice they are making and it's the way the GAA is going, it's getting more professional every year, demands are getting greater."
While the GAA may see Friday night games as increasing their exposure across the weekend, Poland sounds a note of caution when he speculates that the game could have a smaller attendance than is the norm for this derby.
"If Down had played Armagh on a Saturday or a Sunday you would probably get a massive crowd -- this would probably affect supporters coming from work. Bottom line is some (supporters) will not bother with it."
Poland also added that he is uncertain whether he will be the captain for 2014, but said he would not refuse the armband if James McCartan offers it to him.
"It was something I enjoyed last year and would love to be captain again this year, especially with a lot of the players back," he said.