Monday, November 17, 2008

Time to form a Club Players' Association

It may have been tongue-in-cheek but the Sindo's call for a Club Players' Association merits serious consideration. 

"Much energy and ink is expended on the apparent indignities suffered by our unfortunate inter-county footballers and hurlers. But at least they're getting the opportunity to play. Pity the poor clubman, denied games when the pitches are good and forced into wars of attrition on days not fit for man nor beast when the weather can turn the game into a lottery".

Why do the County Board's let this happen? Why do the clubs tolerate this situation?
It's almost as if the GAA is conspiring to keep lads sitting around all summer and then drawing the club leagues and championships out as long as possible to keep players away from rugby and soccer. Nah, they surely wouldn't?

Croke Park has acknowledged this as a serious problem. But, as with all problems identified by Croke Park they needed to first write a report, The Club Fixtures Report (no copies available on the 'net). And now, it seems, on the basis of this report they are proposing a Charter to sort things out. Huh, a Charter?

Like some charter outlining the problem and calling on County Boards to make sure players have regular games is going to make a real difference. All we have to do is look at all the UN Charters for proof. Whatever we read in the papers about the threat posed to GAA by the best players opting for Aussie Rules, rugby or soccer, this is where the greatest danger to the future of the GAA lies. Players getting cheesed off because they have to wait until November to play the most important games of the season. What other sports have regular gaps of 3 months between rounds in their championships? 

But, lets be realistic. Nothing will change for the clubs so long as Croke Park, the County Boards and the GPA are the main stakeholders at national level. And the situation for the clubs will only worsen, if, more likely when, the GPA is officially recognised. 

As I've said before the Club Forum is a good start, but it's not enough, the situation of the vast majority of the GAA's members--the clubs and the club players--need a representative to speak and lobby on their behalf. Just look what that's done for the inter-county players. 

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