Thursday 13 December 2018

Pat Spillane wants a GAA 'transfer system' created to stop an 'unbridgeable chasm' opening up between Dublin and the rest

Pat Spillane (inset) believes his idea could make weaker teams more competitive
Pat Spillane (inset) believes his idea could make weaker teams more competitive Newsdesk Newsdesk

Kerry legend Pat Spillane wants a 'structured transfer system' introduced in the GAA to give top players the chance to play inter-county football.

Sunday Independent columnist Colm O'Rourke has been advocating for the splitting up of Dublin in recent years because players capable of playing inter-county football were not getting an opportunity to showcase their talent.

O'Rourke's suggestions have split the GAA public with most observers in the capital firmly against the proposal.

Spillane has offered an interesting alternative that would allow players from top counties and big clubs to play at the highest level of the game.

He believes that the introduction of a transfer system that would allow weaker clubs and counties to use players who are unwanted on stronger teams to switch sides would benefit those counties and in particular rural clubs who are struggling to field teams.

Writing in the Sunday World, Spillane said: "Dublin have advantages in terms of resources and a lack of travelling. This is replicated at club level – with a huge gulf opening up between the large urban clubs and their rural counterparts.

"The big clubs cannot cater for everybody who wants to play, while some rural clubs are struggling and in some cases are unable to field teams.

"Perhaps we need to think outside the box in an effort to fix this inequality. We can still retain the county and club structure, but could introduce a structured transfer system under which smaller clubs and counties would have access to players from larger units.

"Take Dublin, for example, who at most will use 30 players during the championship. This leaves a hell of a lot of top-class footballers who don’t ever get a chance to wear the county jersey.

"Surely it would be a worthwhile exercise to allow the weaker counties access to this pool of top quality players. I believe a similar initiative would work with the clubs. Otherwise, an unbridgeable chasm will open up."

To adopt this policy, the GAA would have to change the ethos they espouse under Rule 6.1 of An Treoir Oifigiúil.

It states: "As the Gaelic Athletic Association is community centred, based on the allegiance of its members to their local Clubs and Counties, the Transfer and Declaration Rules in this Official Guide and in County Bye-Laws reflect that ethos. A player is considered to owe allegiance and loyalty to his First Club and County."

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