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CPA want GAA to halt 'coercion' of players by county managers


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CPA chairman Micheál Briody

CPA chairman Micheál Briody

SPORTSFILE

CPA chairman Micheál Briody

The Club Players Association (CPA) has bulked up its executive team with a number of well-known former and current GAA players and challenged the GAA's leadership to ensure that county managers cannot "coerce" players into training before their club championship programmes are completed.

The 2019 Waterford senior hurling manager Páraic Fanning had already been brought in on the new CPA executive and now comes confirmation that four-time All-Ireland club winner with Corofin, Kieran Fitzgerald, Laois dual player Cahir Healy and former Cork dual player Denis Coughlan are all on board following a recent annual general meeting.

As counties finalise their championship programmes through August, September and in some cases October, the CPA is raising questions on behalf of its membership as to how clubs can retain their inter-county players for preparation through their own championships free of inter-county commitments.

"What are the leadership going to do to ensure inter-county players are not asked or coerced into training with the inter-county team before they finish their club championships?" they ask in a statement. "In some counties, inter-county managers have very strong influence over fixtures scheduling.

"We call on Croke Park through the powers vested in Management Committee at a Special Congress held on April 17 to use those powers to take a stand once and for all on this and rule with appropriate sanction."

A second question focuses on club championship schedules to which, the CPA say, the GAA at central level should ensure "parity of esteem across all its members at this most difficult crossroads."

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Cahir Healy: 'I am concerned about the unfair situation of my friends who just play club' Photo: SPORTSFILE

Cahir Healy: 'I am concerned about the unfair situation of my friends who just play club' Photo: SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Cahir Healy: 'I am concerned about the unfair situation of my friends who just play club' Photo: SPORTSFILE

The questions come as some counties have revealed scheduling plans. Wexford plan to run off their hurling championship first in a few weeks with the football only starting after the hurling semi-finals in the county are completed.

However, no Wexford dates have been finalised and won't be until the national fixtures plan for later in the year becomes clearer.

"What are the leadership going to do to ensure all counties optimally use the 11 weeks allocated to run their championships? Already we have seen different counties proposing blitz competitions to get club competitions out of the way so their inter-county teams can resume training as early as possible.

"Is this not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the leadership of the GAA to enforce fairness on each county so a level playing field is achieved?"

CPA chairman Micheál Briody has credited the GAA for "very clear and unambiguous leadership in completely closing club facilities at the height of the crisis," adding that "this undoubtedly saved lives."

"We also commend clubs and their members for coming together to help others in their communities during the pandemic. It has shown the underlying strength lies in the grassroots community-led togetherness. Now as we return to play it's very positive that club hurling and football has been allocated 11 weeks at the height of summer."

Changes have arisen at administrative level within the group with Micheál Higgins being replaced by Tommy Kenoy as secretary and Joan Kehoe replacing Anthony Moyles as treasurer. Colm Garvey, from Kilmore in Roscommon, is also joining the executive.

Healy outlined his reasons for joining the executive. "I am concerned about the unfair situation of my friends who just play club," he said. "My own personal reason for having a passion to change things stems from my non-involvement with my club over years as a county player. I'm proud to play for Laois but I still don't feel county players should be strangers in their clubs which is what is happening all over the country."

Irish Independent