CPA to engage county boards directly on recognition
The Club Players Association are to write to every county board this week seeking support for two motions, from Wexford and Tipperary, that call for official recognition of their body.
Despite gaining 15,000 members in just over two weeks there has been a cool reception among some county officials towards recognition of a body that is still in its infancy.
But the CPA, the creation of Monaghan man Declan Brennan, have put official recognition at the top of their wish list as they formally request GAA director-general Paraic Duffy to park his reform motion that seeks to condense the All-Ireland football championships.
"We are at the stage as an association where we need to consider what's right for all our members, not who's right," they said in a statement last night.
They want their motions to be "given due consideration without the possibility of procedural interference or impairment".
In stating their reasons why they can't support a motion that would instantly buy club players at least three more weeks on the calendar if it was passed, the CPA clearly want an input on behalf of their members as the proposal pre-dates their existence.
They feel that the proposals "do not fully take on board the need for an agreed fixtures programme for club players, or take account of legitimate concerns raised including club player welfare and well being, holidays and closed season".
They say they are "detrimental towards hurling and, in their presented form, are creating an unwelcome imbalance in the Association, especially at a time when hurling nationally needs renewed focus. Both games must be given parity of esteem. This is non-negotiable.
"The proposals pre-date the establishment of the Club Players Association. The view expressed to us by club players, who are the majority playing population, is that club fixtures need to be fully considered in any proposals going forward."
There is some irony in the fears expressed that to pass the Duffy motion now would leave no further prospect of change until 2019.
By then, they warn, it might be too late. But if the director-general's motion is "parked," as the CPA have now asked, then 2019 will be the earliest that any meaningful change can be made, unless a special Congress on the matter is called prior to the 2018 fixtures being made. That's an unlikely scenario.
There are many aspects to the GAA motion that instantly help the club player - a Championship that concludes three weeks earlier, All-Ireland semi-finals on the same weekend and extra-time for all Championship games, excluding All-Ireland and provincial finals, potentially creating much space.
With so much work already done on the reforming motion, based on the findings of many previous GAA reports, withdrawal at this stage is also unlikely, especially with the soundings for approval increasing.
That would put the CPA in some conflict with the GAA at central level. At the launch two weeks ago Brennan intimated that an August Bank Holiday weekend conclusion to the Championships could be the best option.