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County Players Will NOT Play In The 'B Championship' Say The GPA

County Players Will NOT Play In The 'B Championship' Say The GPA
By Conor Neville

The GAA's remarkably unimaginative proposal to revive the Tommy Murphy Cup (in all but name) has received an emphatic thumbs down from the GPA.

In a press release, the union have announced that players will simply not take part in the proposed 'B championship'. The GPA had tabled a 'Champions League style' proposal which was rejected by the GAA.

The reaction from the likely competitors in the 'B championship' has been uniformly negative, with Wicklow manager Johnny Magee describing the proposal as a 'disgrace'.

We've looked back at the debacle that was the Tommy Murphy Cup, in which entry was compulsory for Division 4 teams in one season only, 2008. Read that here.

Here is the full GPA statement.

County teams directly affected by the introduction of a B football championship have agreed unanimously that they will not participate in any new structure if this format is approved by congress later this month.

The GPA has consulted extensively with squad reps from the Division 4 squads and a significant majority of players in each county have indicated that they will refuse to play in B competition proposed by Central Council in January.

The players’ body has contacted the GAA on behalf of the membership and indicated that the issue of football competitions must be revisited and a solution found to the current challenges around viable structures.

As stated by the GPA from the outset of the process, the player proposals were never envisaged to be accepted as a fait accompli. However, the GPA clearly indicated that a B championship concept would not be supported by players.

The GPA reiterates its rejection of the claims that a more condensed county playing season would impact negatively on club fixtures and in particular state that the current, protracted format, is impacting severely on club fixture programmes. One of the specific aims of the players’ proposals was to tackle the training culture that pervades the GAA at all levels.

It is inconceivable to think that after this lengthy process the status quo will pertain while there is a growing consensus for urgent change amongst players; club and county, supporters and now administrators.

While the GPA welcomes the debate generated over the past six months there is a need to now establish a more effective process to bring about the change required. The GPA wishes to collaborate with all stakeholders within the GAA in an effort to establish an agreed new structure as the process put in place in this instance proved highly ineffective.

County players (through the GPA) understand that they are only one key group with views on this issue. However, we would encourage the GAA, post Congress, to establish a high powered freestanding working group to address the football competitions debacle and related issues. We suggest this group includes a strong representation of county players and club players who are the individuals most affected by the current procrastination. The views of county players have been communicated to the GAA in this regard.

The GPA would also call on delegates at the upcoming GAA Congress to vote against any proposal supporting a B Championship and are encouraging all football county squads to canvass their respective county delegates on this matter.

Separately, the GPA would urge delegates to support the motion going to Congress proposing change to the U21FC format, reducing the age limit to U20, in an attempt to alleviate pressure on number of younger county players early in each season. This was one of a number of recommendations issued in the GPA Student Report – Never Enough Time, published last May.

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Read more: Why The GAA's Current Plan For A 'B' Championship Is A Waste Of Time

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