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Club Players Association disbands after GAA split season is achieved: ‘The CPA considers its task is now complete’

The CPA was launched in 2017 with a goal to ‘fix the fixtures’. After the GAA Congress voted in favour of a ‘split season’ which hands over the second half of the calendar year to club competitions, the club players’ body has decided to disband

Brian Barry

The Club Players’ Association has announced that it is disbanding, after the GAA voted on a motion to introduce a ‘split season’ at its Congress last weekend.

The CPA, which was launched in 2017, was set up describing itself as a ‘one-issue organisation’, with their mantra being to ‘fix the fixtures’.

Over the past four years, they have lobbied for a clear and defined calendar for club championships. On Saturday, the GAA passed Motion 12, which means the intercounty season must be wrapped up by the 29th Sunday of the year, putting the All-Ireland finals in mid-to-late July.

The remainder of the calendar year will see club championships play out.

This will come into effect from 2022.

“The CPA was established in 2016 and launched in 2017 by a group of GAA volunteers to lobby and campaign on the single issue of fixing the fixtures for all players,” read a CPA statement.

“This was driven by alarm bells over GAA player participation and drop out levels. It was due to serious concerns related to players’ physical and mental wellbeing, because of the demands and uncertainty of the playing season.

“With Congress at the weekend making the historic decision to institute a split season model, the CPA Executive considers its task is now complete.

“Since 2017, the CPA has been central to keeping the fixtures debate in the public forum.

“We advocated a split season approach as a sensible, fair and logical solution to the fixtures issue, and we warmly welcome Congress’s decision, though overdue.

“A rising tide lifts all boats, and over recent years, despite the ebb and flow of debate, the tide of public opinion and the stream of discussion in the GAA has brought all parties to this destination. It is a time for optimism.

“Thank you to all players and GAA members who participated in surveys, sent us season models and ideas (all were read and given consideration), offered feedback, provided encouragement and constructive criticism. We are grateful for the contributions of our executive members past and present, including Declan Brennan.

“We also thank the GPA for their cooperation and support. Thanks to GAA management for the ongoing engagement. We are also grateful to the media for the opportunities and platforms to discuss and debate our ideas.

“We are a diverse group of GAA volunteers from different backgrounds in clubs across Ireland. We are brought together and united by our commitment to the Gaelic Athletic Association. We share a single-minded belief that the goal of a workable fixtures programme was achievable to make the GAA better as a sporting organisation.

“Our reasoning has always been that the right approach to fixtures would provide a vastly improved platform for participation in our games for all players at all levels. With that objective achieved, the time is right to step away.”

The CPA executive came to the decision at an extraordinary general meeting on Monday.

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