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GAA players want injury cover for county action before Sept 14


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The Gaelic Players Association has told the GAA that they want, on behalf of their membership, all inter-county training sessions prior to September 14 to be covered by the Association's Injury fund. (stock photo)

The Gaelic Players Association has told the GAA that they want, on behalf of their membership, all inter-county training sessions prior to September 14 to be covered by the Association's Injury fund. (stock photo)

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Gaelic Players Association has told the GAA that they want, on behalf of their membership, all inter-county training sessions prior to September 14 to be covered by the Association's Injury fund. (stock photo)

The Gaelic Players Association has told the GAA that they want, on behalf of their membership, all inter-county training sessions prior to September 14 to be covered by the Association's Injury fund.

In a letter sent out to players over the weekend, following discussions with the GAA's Competition Controls Committee on Friday, the players' body has also suggested, based on "broad support" rather than "strong and forthright views" that govern other requests, that if a straight knock-out football championship must be played to fit the time schedule of a same year completion, it should be based on an open draw, not the existing provincial championship draws that CCCC is planning to proceed with.

With a later end to the season for many, the GPA is also calling for 2021 inter-county activity to be delayed with a properly defined closed season.

The requests and suggestions made to CCCC on behalf of players are based on numerous discussions with county representatives and captains in recent weeks and a survey which 1,153 players responded to.

The GPA informs members that their negotiations on their behalf were based on three guiding principles - protecting their physical and psychological welfare, promoting fairness and competitive integrity and respect for the level of preparations required for inter-county competitions.

Almost one in five players who responded, 17 per cent, admitted they may not return to activity because it is not safe to do so. The GPA urge that any such decision made by a player should be respected by managers, county boards and supporters.

The call for injury cover for training outside the permitted window, set by the GAA in their recent 'Safe Return to Gaelic Games' document will be at odds with the GAA's insistence that no inter-county training can commence prior to September 14. But there is broad support for players to be allowed to return to inter-county training once their club activity is at an end.

The reality is that almost all inter-county training has been back up and running in recent weeks and, in some cases, managers are advising their players that their priority, even through the club window, must be to the inter-county team preparations.

Some 76 per cent of players want a same year-end to the competitions, 72 per cent see a defined closed season as being "very important" and 75 per cent want the start of 2021 to be pushed back. There is also strong consensus around a four-week run in to the start of the inter-county season, October 17, which is unlikely.

Belfast Telegraph