herald

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Earley: There is not a doping problem in games

GPA’s CEO Dermot Earley at yesterday’s GPA strategic plan launch. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
GPA’s CEO Dermot Earley at yesterday’s GPA strategic plan launch. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Kerry footballer Brendan O'Sullivan did not enlist the help of the GPA over the course of his recent failed drugs test and subsequent appeal process.

Chairman Dermot Earley, speaking at the launch of the GPA's three-year strategic plan yesterday confirmed that "in this particular case...the player was happy not to avail of the services and hence we didn't comment on it."

The former Kildare player was also insistent that doping was not a serious issue currently in Gaelic games.

"I'm not that long away from the game, I never experienced it in my career and I don't think doping is an issue and I don't think players are purposely doing it, no."

The length of the process, which drew criticism from Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice, was - according to Earley, "to do with Sport Ireland and the appeals".

The GAA's doping procedures was, he added, one of the items on the agenda at a meeting between Croke Park and the GPA today.

"That's something that we will look at, we will discuss with the GAA in order to improve it. But at the end of the day, for us, our main concern is the education side of it. It's not a concern, it's ensuring the education continues and that we even up it.

"I don't think there is a culture, 99 per cent of players will check with someone. They will go through their team doctor - so I don't think that was a concern.

"I think players now know that whatever they put in their body, ultimately is their responsibility, but that they have to ensure it's cleared by their team doctor and their nutritionist."

Earley also admitted that the GAA's stonewalling of the GPA's football championship structure proposal was "annoying" and has intimated that the player's body will seek a postponement on the decision over a hurling format, due to be discussed by Central Council this Saturday.

He pointed out that the GPA's plan was rejected out of hand by the GAA on the basis that it contained more matches yet the 'Super Eight' format was adopted despite adding to the number of games and condensing the time-frame in which they will be played.

While the GPA was criticised over their inaction prior to Congress passing the new football championship structure for the next three years, Earley explained that they were given insufficient time to ballot their members.

"We only got it (the hurling proposal) last Wednesday, so we have to consult all the hurling squads on this and that does take time.

"If we don't have the feedback on time then I'll be asking Central Council to postpone this and leave it until the next Central Council meeting," concluded Earley.

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