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Saturday 10 December 2016

Players vow to boycott plan B

GPA seeks new drive to tackle football 'debacle'

Dessie Farrell, CEO of the GPA. The organisation yesterday released a statement rejecting the All-Ireland B football championship Photo: Sportsfile
Dessie Farrell, CEO of the GPA. The organisation yesterday released a statement rejecting the All-Ireland B football championship Photo: Sportsfile

Division 4 football squads will boycott an All-Ireland B football championship if Central Council's controversial proposal is endorsed by GAA Congress.

The declaration, contained in a hard-hitting GPA statement, will be viewed by some as the death knell for an eight-team blueprint that requires two-thirds support at Congress later this month.

The players' body was also scathing of the GAA's "highly ineffective" process to examine options for reforming the SFC - or what it terms "the football competitions debacle". The GPA's Champions League-style proposal was binned by Central Council.

"County teams directly affected by the introduction of a B football championship have agreed unanimously that they will not participate in any new structure if this format is approved by Congress," yesterday's statement began. "The GPA has consulted extensively with squad reps from the Division 4 squads and a significant majority of players in each county have indicated that they will refuse to play."

The GPA's own proposals were never envisaged to be accepted as a "fait accompli", but it warned that proceeding with the status quo would be "inconceivable" when there is a growing consensus for change.

"The GPA wishes to collaborate with all stakeholders within the GAA in an effort to establish an agreed new structure, as the process put in place in this instance proved highly ineffective," it claimed. "We would encourage the GAA, post Congress, to establish a high-powered free-standing working group to address the football competitions debacle and related issues. We suggest this group includes a strong representation of county players and club players who are the individuals most affected by the current procrastination."

The GPA is backing a motion to change the current U21 FC format to an U20 competition.

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