Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

GPA makes the call for all-out strike action official

GAA President, Nicky Brennan

The GPA has officially called for its members to vote in favour of an all-out strike next season.

In a statement released yesterday, the players' body confirmed that a ballot process was now under way and its executive was calling for support for a strike. If successful, the players will target all matches in 2008.

The call for a strike came as GAA officials and the Government sat down to discuss the impasse over the grants issue.

GAA president Nickey Brennan, director general Liam Mulvihill and player welfare manager Paraic Duffy met with Minister for Sport Seamus Brennan but Brennan refused to divulge details of their talks. The GPA ballot began yesterday and represents the most serious prospect of a player strike since the move was first mooted in March 2006.

"This significant action is being taken by the GPA following an extensive process of negotiation with our members," read the GPA statement.

"Four provincial meetings were held followed by a period of consultation where every county squad in Ireland was contacted to gauge the mood in regard to the grants issue and any potential protest.

"The GPA executive has advised its members to vote in favour of the action which will consist of a removal of players from all inter-county competitions next season."

The impasse over the €5m annual grant remains because the Government insists that the money should be given to the GAA as additional infrastructural grants to distribute to the players under the guise of various welfare payments. The GAA feel this is tantamount to pay for play.

The GPA could, however, score a quick own goal if Leinster's O'Byrne Cup is incorporated in the strike. All gate receipts for this competition go towards a player hardship fund.

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