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Club Players' Association not afraid to ignite major debates

By Declan Bogue

I wonder how those delegates who stood up during GAA Congress a few months ago and let off some steam about the Club Players' Association feel now?

Did they believe that, somehow, grandstanding in such a way would make them more popular among their peers and demonstrate an absolute loyalty towards the rulers of the GAA? Or did they simply enjoy giving out?

My thoughts are pertinent right now given how the CPA and the GAA have been regularly coming together over the last two months in an effort to find common ground and negotiate their way through the club fixtures mess that has everyone half-demented.

'Fix the fixtures' was a catchy campaigning slogan for the CPA. It struck chords both major and minor and simplified what their job of work was.

However, they are now trying to get their heads around a problem that is so much more complex than any of them may well have appreciated.

The good news is that they have been plugging away in their own free time.

They even sent out a press release stating that negotiations with senior GAA officials will be continuing this very day, May 3.

To accompany their statement, they had the results of a survey carried out over the Bank Holiday weekend that attracted over 3,700 responses, they claimed.

And fourth on the list of stats was that 567 players want the provincial Championships scrapped.

Now, perhaps it was the sun, maybe it was the few beers that go along with any self-respecting barbecue, but do a sizeable number of people in the GAA - and we appreciate an online survey is a small sample size - really want to take down the provincial Championships, Ulster and all?

If that is the case, the CPA could end up with a much wider brief than they ever expected.

Does anyone truly believe that the provincial system could be ended?

If the four provincial competitions were to end, it would also - if logic were to follow - result in the winding down of the provincial councils, leaving whoever is in Croke Park to take on the staging of national GAA affairs.

One thing you have to admire about the CPA is that they know how to start conversations.

Belfast Telegraph

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