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Is It Time For A GAA Players Strike?

Is It Time For A GAA Players Strike?
By Donny Mahoney Updated

Lost somewhat in the disquiet over the officiating disaster that Derek Fahy unleashed on Wexford football on Saturday is the fact that the team who won that match - Limerick - have themselves been victims of a quite few shoddy refereeing decisions in recent history. Perhaps this how karma works in gaelic football: suffer through enough bad referees and eventually your day will come and your opponents will be the victims refereeing incompetence.

GAA players give up too much of their time and energy to sanction the recent epic screw-ups of Fahy and Sludden. The GAA has put out soundings that they will consider installing Hawk-Eye, but even if it's introduced, will we see anywhere outside Croke Park? I heard Darren Frehill and Pat Kenny having a sensible discussion about ways to prevent disasters like Saturdays (back netting, a top crossbar, etc) and Kenny himself admitted that he'd been having these conversations for years and nothing had been done about it. The disquiet of Saturday's farce will fade too.

If the GAA players want real change to the game, and this goes beyond technology, maybe it's time they considered a strike/work stoppage. Ultimately, people tune in and turn up not to honour a stodgy old sports organisation, but to watch the game played at the highest level. They come for the players. Those players deserve better from the GAA. They also deserve money. The players can receive a bigger percentage of gate receipts without compromising the beloved 'amateur' status. As Rule 42 proved, the GAA can be a very free-thinking organisation when there's a lot of money on the line. It's only when the players threaten to withhold their services that real change will take place to the ineptitude and unfairness that lurks around the sport.

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