GPA answer critics as they turn back on professionalism
ANY lingering fears that the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) harbour a secret desire to turn Gaelic games professional were firmly laid to rest at their AGM yesterday, when they introduced a strong amateur clause into their constitution.
A proposal from the GPA's national executive was passed that stresses: "The GPA is committed to the maintenance and protection of the amateur status of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the pursuit by the GPA of its objectives shall at all times be subject to that commitment."
This significant move vindicates the GAA's decision earlier this year to enter an interim agreement to recognise the GPA as the players' official representative body, a long-term version of which CEO Dessie Farrell said was expected to be concluded before the New Year.
He told his members yesterday that 2010 "will be remembered as the year when suspicion was replaced by trust, when conflict was replaced by consensus, when animosity was replaced by agreement and when division was replaced with unity."
The players also called upon the government and Sports Council to maintain the player grants scheme -- which was reduced by 70 pc this season -- and intend to make public a study next week claiming that the performances of inter-county players contribute €200m to the economy annually.
The players stated their support "for the introduction of video technology in senior inter-county matches where venues can accommodate same" and proposed that match time-keeping "becomes the responsibility of a designated time-keeper other than the match referee."
Dara O hAnnaidh (Wicklow) stepped down as secretary and was replaced by Kildare's Ronan Sweeney, but Offaly's Brian Whelahan and Cork's Donal Og Cusack were returned as president and chairman respectively.