GPA: Fair play to GAA for Respect Initiative

Diarmuid Geraghty

THE Gaelic Players Association today saluted the GAA's new Respect Initiative which has just been launched.

The Respect Initiative in an attempt to adopt a new approach to fair play across all grades of football and hurling.

"We would certainly support positive initiatives such as the Respect and Fair Play Index.

"Discipline is quite often dealt with in a negative manner with the sole emphasis on punishment," said GPA spokesperson, Seán Potts.

"However, we launched our own Fair Play Awards two years ago with the aim of promoting good behaviour on and off the field and I think the GAA Index is an excellent way of strengthening the message that good discipline pays."


The programme will focus on all participants in the game including players, management, officials and fans.

It has been tried and tested in a number of counties already but it will become a nationwide feature at all under-12 games in the coming weeks. One aspect of the scheme is for designated spectator areas at club games, an issue which has been problematic in the past.

Also announced were details of the Fair Play Index which will be introduced in this season's National Leagues.

An award of €10,000 will be presented to the team with the best disciplinary records.

The announcement comes in a week which saw seven players sent off (including six straight red cards) in an ill-tempered O'Byrne Cup quarter-final clash between Kildare and Laois at Portlaoise. Association president Christy Cooney described the announcement as one of the most important initiatives the GAA will launch in 2010.

"We all have a role to play in this and it begins at underage level in our clubs.

"We are realistic to know that this is something that we can't tackle overnight.

"However, that doesn't mean that we can't make a difference from today.

"And I believe that this programme will make a real and meaningful difference on the field of play," added president Cooney.