Wednesday 21 November 2018

Sheehan slams Sports Ireland 'bully-boy tactics'

Former Kerry captain Bryan Sheehan. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Former Kerry captain Bryan Sheehan. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Former Kerry captain Bryan Sheehan has branded Sport Ireland's decision to withhold the payment of grants to GAA players as "bully-boy tactics".

Sport Ireland want the GPA to agree to provide them with the addresses of their members by 2019 before they will release the payments for last year while the players' body fear that the move would lead to a move towards testing at the home.

However, Sport Ireland's head of anti-doping Dr Una May insists they have always reserved the right to test at home though their preference is to test at collective training and in competition.

Sheehan wants Sport Ireland to release the funds while negotiations are ongoing.

"I think they are using bully-boy tactics to strong-arm the GPA into accepting this deal so that the GPA can have access to money and release it to the players," he told Paddy Power News.

"They are forcing them, and I think it's wrong. The money should be released now. It's June. It should have been released in March. Negotiations are ongoing but if they want to use this tactic again, it should be made on the 2019 payments."

Some other athletes in receipt of state funding are subject to much more stringent rules but Sheehan insists that in-home testing is too big an ask.

"I think it's a step too far. At the end of the day these are amateur players. They are already providing urine samples after games or at training. There's no major problem with that, bar the hassle of having to wait around for a few hours after a game when you are completely dehydrated and having to try and pass urine.

"If you're going to start drug-testing inter-county players, why not drug-test club players? We're all in the same bracket. Last year it came in that they would begin blood-testing, so that was another step. There wasn't too much hassle about it.

"But now you're training, going to the gym, playing matches and giving all this commitment, and when you finally do get to have a few hours at home with your family, they want to start coming to your house and drug-test you there too?"

Irish Independent

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