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CPA to keep fighting to shine a light on GAA Congress


By Declan Bogue

The failure of Motion 22 at Saturday's GAA Congress, which had sought to keep tabs on the voting record of county board delegates, has led to Club Players' Association chairman Micheál Briody declaring his dismay at the "embarrassing" lack of transparency at Congress.

However, the 83-17 defeat of the vote will not deter the players' representative group, who are now seeking a meeting with the next GAA president John Horan in March.

The CPA was set up to secure club players a better deal amid the rising tide of county football. Their rallying cry is to 'fix the fixtures' and let club players know when they are playing so that they could book holidays and have a bit of certainty over their year

The arguments put forward against their motion have led to Briody declaring: "When you look at our motion and the logic of our motion, it is just embarrassing being part of the Association. It's embarrassing that we don't have transparency of the nature that's required.

"They can no longer tell us this is the most democratic organisation, because democracy dies in darkness. And if you don't have transparency, then you don't have a true democracy, or a true democratic unit."

Those who spoke out against the motion included Cork chairperson Tracey Kennedy and delegate from the European County Board, Tony Bass.

Briody, who was present in Croke Park for the debate, declared himself unimpressed with the opposition to the motion proposed by former Wexford All-Ireland hurling-winning manager Liam Griffin.

"There was no logical argument made on the floor of Congress against it," the Meath man stated.

"There were two arguments, one was Tracey Kennedy (Cork chair) who spoke about trust. It's not a legitimate argument because we weren't talking about trust, we were talking about transparency, and you have more trust when you have transparency.

"It's the only sporting organisation of its size in Europe that doesn't have a transparent voting system.

"That argument really just doesn't wash.

"And then we had Tony Bass of Europe, he spoke against the CPA at last year's Congress and he spoke again. He has never met the CPA, I don't know where he is coming from."

The defeated motion will not deter the players' representative group, insisted Briody.

"It doesn't change our strategy. We weren't expecting it to go through, it's disappointing that the forum of Congress is not open enough to put through something like transparency, that's disappointing," he said.

"We don't really have a democratic process because there is no way Croke Park can say you can bring anything up to us from the club up, and it gets a fair hearing at Congress."

Taken to its logical extreme, if such a motion were passed, there could be a case made to do away with Congress and have county delegates' votes counted on the various motions.

However, Briody insists they are not trying to stifle debate.

"I have no problem if someone comes up against a legitimate argument on the motion. If candidates weren't mandated by their clubs to vote in a certain way, then they would have the right to listen to a debate and make the decision there and then.

"And equally too. If they were mandated and they decided after the debate to change their vote, they can do that also, but it means they are accountable to go back to their counties and say, 'Look lads, I know you asked us to vote yes, but after listening to the debate, we decided to go with this'."

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