Thursday 8 December 2016

Paraic Duffy admits GAA fixtures schedule at crisis point

Published 27/01/2016 | 02:30

Director general Paraic Duffy. Photo: Sportsfile
Director general Paraic Duffy. Photo: Sportsfile

The time has come to shrink the size of the GAA's inter-county model or risk "neglecting the heart and soul" of the Association, director general Paraic Duffy has warned.

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On the day when he launched his annual report to a Congress that will decide on reform proposals that will have far-reaching consequences for both the inter-county and club games, Duffy set out the GAA's case for rejecting the Gaelic Players Association's blueprint for reform, citing a huge spike in the number of games as a critical reason.

As the GPA consult membership and consider their position, with calls from some quarters to take decisive action, Duffy said the rejection should not lead to a rift with its playing body.

"If we can't have a discussion with the GPA and disagree, there's something wrong," he said. "We have a different view than they have.

"Just because it came from the GPA doesn't mean that we should have accepted it. But there's no question of any row between ourselves and the GPA; it's a difference of opinion. They want more games.

"I suppose our view would be we want more club games and we want less training."

Duffy is adamant that the opportunity has arrived for real change that can tilt the balance back towards clubs and uses his report to deliver a keynote message.

"All of us, and especially our county officers, need to act now to rebalance our priorities in a way that our attentions are devoted more to our clubs and less to our inter-county activities," he writes. "The means to resolving the problems that we have created are available.

"We can be bold and decisive in overcoming the obstructions that are undermining our clubs but do enough of us care about taking remedial action?

"Neglect them and we lose touch with the heart and soul of the GAA."

Irish Independent

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