Ireland GPA call for 'safest venues' and stricter Covid protocols...

GPA call for ‘safest venues’ and stricter Covid protocols for inter-county season

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The Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA) has called for the use of ‘safest venues’ and stricter protocol for the inter-county season.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the GPA met this afternoon to discuss the results of an online poll carried out amongst players from Tuesday, October 13th to Thursday, October 15th. The NEC unanimously agreed that the 2020 inter-county season should proceed subject to additional safeguards and supports for the welfare of its members.

These include:

  • Stronger testing protocols
  • Stricter compliance and oversight of Covid-19 protocols in all counties
  • The use of the safest venue for games (location and facilities)

The NEC has also called for the decision of any player to withdraw from their inter-county panel because of their personal circumstances to be respected.

There was a 76 per cent response rate from members in the 48 hours with 1,695 players responding.

The key findings are:

  • 52 per cent of inter-county hurlers and footballers want to proceed with the season
  • 24 per cent want to play only if the implementation of the Covid-19 protocols is improved
  • 24 per cent of respondents do not want to proceed with the 2020 season

With 76 per cent of players wanting to play, of which 24 per cent want a more robust implementation of protocols, the NEC have decided to proceed on the basis these protocols are improved.

The GPA’s NEC have also been mandated by players (86 per cent) to make further decisions regarding the continuation of the season.

The GPA will continue to work with the GAA Covid-19 Advisory Committee, follow government guidelines and monitor developments as this fluid situation evolves.

GPA CEO Paul Flynn said: “We are deeply concerned about our member’s welfare given the ongoing developments nationwide.

“The clear message from our members is we need to strengthen the protocols to protect the welfare of the players, their families and their communities.

“We also need to respect the decision of players who opt out of the 2020 season.”

There has been widespread debate over whether the inter-county championships should proceed this year.

Former GAA president Liam O’Neill was the latest to weigh in as he said he doesn’t believe the championships should go ahead, claiming it’s too much of a “risk”.

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