The Gaelic Players Association have issued a statement urging delegates at the GAA Congress to oppose the introduction of a second tier football championship.
n the issue included below, the GPA state that they are strongly against the realisation of the B Championship format proposals and that they are acting directly on those players who would beinvolved should the competition be introdcued.
"The Gaelic Players Association is calling on delegates at GAA Congress to oppose motions proposing the introduction of a second tiered senior football championship.
"This is in response to the wishes of the county players who would be directly affected by any potential change and who have unequivocally opposed the introduction of a B Championship format.
"Speaking about the proposal, GPA secretary Paul Flynn commented: “We have spent over a year discussing new structures and changes with our football members and there remains serious opposition to the introduction of a second tier in the football championship. The squads directly affected if change is introduced have also voted recently not to participate in the new format. We would urge Congress delegates to back the players here and oppose the motions advocating a second tier in the senior football championship.”
"Following Congress, the GPA will be making a formal representation to the GAA on behalf of the wider football membership in relation to the setting up of a working group to develop a new football championship format. This is considered by players, supporters and officials to be imperative in relation to tackling the on-going issue of the football season at both club and county level.
"The GPA supports the Central Council Motion containing the proposed switch of the U21 football grade to U20, a recommendation contained in last year’s GPA Student Report and one specifically aimed at the cohort of players most under pressure from multiple squad responsibility.
"Such a move would provide an excellent first step in tackling the problems which are manifest for players between the ages of 18 and 21 The GPA will oppose the Motion relating to the GAA’s Broadcast Rights and restricting inter-county championship games to free to air TV.
"In relation to this motion being tabled from Dublin and Kerry, GPA Chairman Seamus Hickey stated: “Any such move would be seen by the inter-county playing body as wholly regressive as it would deny the GAA the ability to negotiate the very best possible deal on behalf of the Association. From a players perspective the commercial reality of this situation is that increased funding means greater support for player welfare not to mention the wider benefits to the GAA in terms of coaching, games promotion, infrastructure and facilities. It should also be noted that not every ‘free-to-air’ channel is available to GAA members in the Six Counties.”
The GPA will be represented at GAA Congress by President Dermot Earley.