CPA ‘concerned and disappointed’ at GAA’s Tier 2 football format plans

THE CLUB PLAYERS Association [CPA] has criticised the GAA and their decision to bring forward a vote on the introduction of a new  Tier 2 football championship at next month’s Special Congress in Cork.

The GAA confirmed on Monday that Páirc Uí Chaoimh will host the Special Congress vote on 19 October, with the debate on the agenda as Central Council put forward a proposed format.

On Friday, the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) called on Central Council to delay Saturday’s planned vote on the proposals for a two-tier football championship, saying they wanted to ‘to allow the Fixtures Task Force the time it needs to develop recommendations.’

But the GAA will press ahead next month, leaving the CPA “concerned and disappointed.”

Chairman Micheál Briody said: “We are very concerned and disappointed that the GAA central management committee has decided to bring forward proposals for the Tier 2 competitions to Special Congress in October while the Fixtures Calendar Review Taskforce has not yet made its report, recommendations and options as directed when it was established in June.

“The Taskforce was asked to report by November and its work is ongoing.

Since our earliest engagement with Croke Park we have argued against this sort of incremental change which has hampered real progress in improving the lot of all players.

“Now that we have in place a Fixtures Taskforce, surely we must give the people involved the respect to let them bring forward their considered recommendations within the agreed time frame so our fixtures problem is addressed for all our players.”

Under Central Council’s proposal, provincial championships will be played as they currently are, while All-Ireland qualifiers will be open to National League Division 1 and 2 teams, and any from Division 3 or 4 who qualify for their respective provincial finals.

Subsequently, that would mean just two full rounds of All-Ireland qualifiers in future as opposed to four – an additional preliminary round is provided for however, in years where more than eight teams are eligible to participate in round 1.

A new straight knockout Tier 2 championship for all Division 3 and 4 teams that do not reach their provincial finals is then proposed.

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“The CPA has engaged fully with the Fixtures Taskforce since its formation contributing feedback and analysis, and making available all materials and proposals that we have developed to date,” the statement added.

“This has all been done in good faith in the assumption that the Taskforce would be allowed to complete its work unhindered as directed. That appears now not to be the case.

“While we are disappointed that Special Congress is going ahead, we will continue to work within the Fixtures Taskforce to try and find a workable solution for club players from 2021.”

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