Monday 26 August 2019

CPA will disband if 'proper national fixture plan implemented' - Micheal Briody

CPA chairperson Micheál Briody. Photo: Sportsfile
CPA chairperson Micheál Briody. Photo: Sportsfile

John Morley

Chairperson of the Club Player's Association (CPA) Micheal Briody has said it will disband next year if a "proper national fixture plan" is passed by Congress.

Briody's remarks come after a meeting between CPA and Croke Park official's on Friday, when it was agreed an independent committee would be set up to come to a solution on the fixtures problem.

"We'd be happy to disband next year knowing there was a proper national fixture plan in place," Briody told Independent.ie. 

"If everything is done in good faith, and we're led to believe it will be done that way, I believe the sound bites are quite good," he added.

The CPA met with GAA officials including Uachtartan CLG John Horan and GAA Director General Tom Ryan, receiving confirmation that a 'Fixtures Review Group' will be set up in June after being approved by a management meeting in the end of May.

"It's refreshing that it is being set up and the membership of it should be relatively independent, there's not going to be vested stakeholders in it," said Briody.

The CPA was set up as a lobbying group in pursuit of a 'blank canvass' to the current GAA competitions in their current format in order to get the best fixture format across the association.

"What we've looked for all along is to get all the stakeholders into the one room and trash out the best plan for the GAA, not for any one particular side," added Briody. 

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With overlapping of competitions at club, college and inter-county level inevitable with the current structure, the addition of extra games in both hurling and football last year added to the congestion. Briody referenced that these changes have made the need for action more urgent.

"There obviously are a lot of improvements that can be made to the national fixture plan that can allow club and county to co-exist a lot better than is currently the case," he said.

"That's no ones' fault, there's just been incremental change year on year and that's added up," he added.

Briody and the CPA want their representatives and representatives from the GAA and GPA to meet at the independently chaired meeting from June onwards, to work out a plan to amend the current fixture format so that it can be put before congress for 2020. 

"What we're looking for from this review group is that there will be options presented from the committee that will go to every club in Ireland and the clubs in Ireland can decide, through Congress and through the democratic system that's there, what's the alternative plan, or if they're happy with the existing plan."

As a lobbying body representing over 25,000 club members, the CPA hopes that their members and all club members can get the opportunity to mandate their county boards to Congress on the best fixture format for the organisation going forward.

"If that's brought out to the clubs and the clubs decide whatever way the clubs want, that's a win for the GAA and it's a win for everyone," he said.

"We're assuming that there will be a more coherent fixture plan presented than the one currently in operation."

Briody highlighted that a fixture plan without the rules to govern it would be futile and that rules to enforce the releasing of players from county to club and vice versa were on the cards for the fixtures committee.

"You can put in a national fixture plan in the GAA, but if you don't have the rules of governance of how that's operated, be that from what county managers can do, what county boards can do, what clubs can do and how players time is spent between club and county, that's all part of what we're doing," said the CPA Chairman.

"We've got confirmation [Friday] from the Uachtaran [John Horan] and from Tom Ryan, the Director General that anything is on the table, it's not just fixtures, but if there are rules there, the committee can recommend as well."

Briody assured that the resulting conclusions from this committee would be implemented for the 2021 season, if they are passed by congress 2020 in the autumn.

"It will be clear from this committee that we will have a mandate to bring proposals by October for all the clubs and it will go to Congress 2020 for implementation in 2021.

"The hurling changes and the Super 8's will have run their three year trial period and whatever comes out of this committee group will override those.

"That doesn't necessarily say that there won't be the Super 8's or hurling in its' current format, everything is on the table, but it will coincide with that period of review," he added.

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