The Club Players Association has appealed to the GAA Management to allow clubs to complete their championships.
Micheál Briody said: “We have been contacted by a lot of clubs over the last 24/48 hours, distressed and disappointed that their season has been brought to an abrupt and unsatisfactory end. They all understand the need to tighten restrictions, but are appealing to have the chance to finish out their campaign.”
In making this appeal, the Club Players' Association fully acknowledges that GAA management is taking responsibility and showing leadership once again to help stop the spread of COVID19.
“Club players and supporters across all counties greatly appreciated the 11 weeks ring-fenced for Clubs. With uninterrupted access to players, the interest and excitement generated at Club Level was a tremendous showcase for our games and surpassed all expectations.
“The GAA leadership centrally, at provincial level and in some counties have attracted unfair criticism. This criticism has been for situations where they have little control over an individual’s behaviour, and where Association guidelines have been ignored or flouted. We all understand the euphoria of championship success, but some of the behaviour has rightly attracted scrutiny in light of the pandemic we are all living through. We do not condone this at all.
“At this time, in light of the GAA directive on Monday 5 October, we are pleading with the GAA management committee to allow outstanding adult championships to be completed behind closed doors. We would highlight the following points in making this request:
• The number of club players who are only a few days away from completing their season is minimal.
• It is extremely unfair that they should be left hanging for the next number of months not knowing when their finals will be played.
• According to guidelines they can and most likely will continue to train until their games are played, which may contribute to further transmission and risk.
• The extra costs of training over the coming months will put further financial pressure on these clubs who have been unable to raise funds in 2020 like other years.
• Finishing the competitions will allow all clubs to have full closure on this season, and give players and mentors an uninterrupted break with their families at this difficult time.
The response to and engagement with club games has been a real positive for the GAA in 2020. It is important that it is recognised for players and their communities who are at final stages of their championships.
We would re-emphasise that we agree that the lack of social distancing in some stands is totally unsatisfactory and the after-match behaviour in a few clubs has been disappointing, to say the least.
However we feel that cancelling club games is unfair on players who through no fault of their own are being denied the chance to finish what has been a unique and challenging season.