Cooney hints at merging GPA awards with All Stars in near future
THE All Star and the GPA player award schemes are on course for a merger, which could happen as early as next year.
The All Stars have been in existence since 1971 while the players' body have been running their own Opel-backed awards scheme since 2006, but with Vodafone's sponsorship of the GAA's awards expiring this year, the path has been cleared for the two schemes to come together.
GAA president Christy Cooney refused to be drawn on the issue yesterday but hinted that a decision would be revealed in the official recognition agreement with the GPA, which is expected before the end of the year.
Opel are understood to be keen to continue their arrangement with the GPA beyond 2010, but whether they will step in as title sponsors of a combined scheme remains to be seen.
"We are in the process of finalising an agreement with the GPA, so I don't really want to talk about that until the agreement is finalised. I don't want to talk about what may or may not be. We will speak to the GPA and all will be clear on where that will lie in the future," Cooney said.
Cooney also declared his confidence that they could find a suitable benefactor to replace the mobile phone giant.
"We brought SuperValu and Centra on board (as sponsors earlier this year). They are very happy with it and I am comfortable enough to believe that we are in a position to be able to announce a new sponsor in the coming months," he said.
"Vodafone have been absolutely outstanding sponsors of the GAA for something like 15 years. They have been tremendous and I would like to acknowledge that support over many years.
"They are involved with Dublin now and no one expected a situation where they were going to stay involved in the football championship."
The Cork native recently returned from the Asian Games and heaped praise on the organisers of the event.
Cooney added: "I have never seen a better organised competition in all my life. There were 650 players, 27 countries competed, 23 different nationalities, and in excess of 30 teams played off over two days. It ran like clockwork."