CPA predict 'carnage' if 'club-only' April is not fully enforced
The Club Players Association (CPA) have urged senior administration officials not to allow inter-county managers to have free rein over players during April, which has been set aside as a 'club-only' period.
The absence of any inter-county fixture for five weekends, six for the majority, provides an opportunity for club matches, theoretically, to be played with county players.
However, there's a consensus building that with inter-county games stacking up quickly in May, and coming fast after that, managers will seek to use the time as preparation for those games.
The CPA want Croke Park to enforce the 'club-only' period so that clubs have sufficient access to their players.
They predict "carnage" if this does not happen and, while acknowledging the merit of many aspects of the document, have urged leadership on the issue.
"We received a copy of it and associated documentation upon request on Thursday. There are positive developments there for clubs, in terms of available weekends for club activity," said CPA chairman Micheál Briody in a statement.
"There are a lot of positive changes in the plan, the inter-county competitions will be finished earlier and there are opportunities for a large number of counties to run competitions during summer months.
"We were however disappointed at the attitude expressed that individual counties may more or less do as they wish in April without any intervention by GAA management.
"We need more leadership and direction from Croke Park on that front. Croke Park has brought about these changes through Congress and we want to see them get fully behind (them) and do everything in their power to make sure there is every chance of it all working. Are we seeing that?
"Leadership has to come from the top on this. If they leave it to 32 different county boards and clubs within each county as was suggested last week, it could be carnage.
"What happens if county managers decide not to release their players or if club fixtures are not put in place during that time?
"The real danger here is that clubs are still at the bottom of the pile and are depending on the actions of others.
"Will we be back here again next year with the same problems and maybe a few new ones?"
The CPA believe there is too much ambiguity on what constitutes 'club only' and there should be proper enforcement to "hold any party to account that is being obstructive".