The biggest motion up for decision at Congress this weekend is the Pauric Duffy-proposed 'Super 8' structure for the All-Ireland football quarter-finals, whereby the eight quarter-finalists are grouped into two groups of four, meaning each side will play three quarter-finals. (As a testament to the utter madness of the GAA, this means that a single quarter-finalist in the football will play more quarter-finals than there are in the entire hurling championship, but that's for another day).
It needs a two-thirds majority at Congress to pass, and was up for discussion on the most recent episode of League Sunday. The three panellists, Donal O'Grady, Brendan Cummins and Dick Clerkin were broadly in favour of it, but their support was caveated: Cummins believes that it may curb the type of fairytale success of the likes of the Tipp footballers last year, while O'Grady fretted it might detract further from the hurling championship.
The Club Players' Association are strongly against the Super 8 structure, as the extra inter-county fixtures are likely to cause further havoc to club fixtures.
Speaking to the Irish Times, CPA Chairman Micheál Briody further condemned Pauric Duffy's proposal, while going one step further: criticising what he perceives as RTE bias.
It's pretty strong stuff.
We did have a private meeting with Páraic last week, discussed our stance, and pleaded with him to withdraw the proposals. Okay, he didn’t. No surprise there.
But what we also think is that senior media have not been overly friendly, or overly fair, to the alternative argument, because there is conflict of interest. That would be mainly within RTÉ. We saw the segment on the League Sunday, last Sunday, where they discussed the proposals, and never once gave the alternative view. No one looked at it.
The fact that RTÉ are a sponsor of the championship and therefore had a conflicted interest wasn’t lost on our members as RTÉ licence payers.
So we’d be very aware of the media bias that’s out there. RTÉ talked about all the work being done on it, taking it around the country. Where? Who asked any players? Everyone is going around patting themselves on the back, and we’re going ‘my God, where is the voice of the club player? And the intercounty player?’ Because this is wrong, and the GAA needs to stop it now and put in a proper solution
A motion from Wexford GAA will go to the GAA’s Annual Congress next month seeking official recognition for the CPA as the representative body of the club player.