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GPA is refusing to play ball

By Declan Bogue

Published 06/02/2016

Reform row: Dessie Farrell heads the players' association
Reform row: Dessie Farrell heads the players' association

The prospect of a 'B' football Championship taking place has received a serious blow with the news emerging that players will refuse to take part in it.

This was revealed in an email sent out by the Gaelic Players' Association to all their members on Friday.

It represents the latest hitch in the feud that is developing between the players' body, headed by Dessie Farrell and the GAA over potential reform to the All-Ireland football Championship structure.

Even if the 'B' Championship proposal is approved by the GAA at congress in Carlow later this month, there will be a refusal to play in it, the email stated.

"The GPA has consulted extensively with 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,' it reads.

It continues: 'The GPA has stressed the urgent need to establish a more effective mechanism to bring about the change required and has stated that the process put in place in this instance has proven to be highly ineffective.

"We believe that a high powered freestanding working group - including a strong representation of county and club players - needs to be set up as a matter of urgency and have communicated this to the GAA.

"The GPA is also calling on delegates at the upcoming GAA Congress to vote against the proposal of a 'B' Championship and are encouraging all football county squads to canvass their respective county delegates on this matter.'

It goes on to encourage delegates at congress not to change the under-21 grade to an under-20 version.

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