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GPA propose new schedule

Slimming down season to 26 weeks

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GPA CEO Paul Flynn. Photo: Sportsfile

GPA CEO Paul Flynn. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

GPA CEO Paul Flynn. Photo: Sportsfile

The GPA is set to propose that next year's inter-county season lasts just seven months - from February to the end of July.

The players' representative association want the GAA to start with a blank canvass in terms of how they organise their competitions but the structures "should be defined to suit this time frame".

In a circular to members, the GPA points out that the usual inter-county season runs to 40 weeks.

Reduced

"However, the current season has been reformatted to fit club and county into just 26 weeks. It is our firm held view that this shows we should be capable of completing an inter-county season in the much-reduced time-frame.

"This would help alleviate the unsustainable demands on you (the players), allowing you to strike a better balance across your physical, personal and professional lives and also between club and county commitments."

The circular states that this initiative is player-led.

"You have told us you want a shorter season and that is what this proposal seeks to address. We will be in touch with squads in the coming days to gather final feedback.

"This will determine our position which will then be taken to the Fixtures Review Committee which is due to meet on August 19."

The proposal is based on information and data suppled by the players in the two ESRI Reports published in 2018 and 2019 and the GPA's annual grant survey data conducted early this year.

"One of the major pieces of feedback you have given us is that the current situation where the inter-county season is almost year-round is not sustainable.

"It is seen as the 'root cause' of many of the issues that impact you."

The circular lists five benefits of a shorter season:

1 Supports a sustainable amateur model allowing a balance between physical, personal, and professional commitments.

2 Provided defined periods for other competitions including club and third level.

3 Facilitates definitive periods for a closed season of activity for inter-county players.

4 Provides the opportunity to launch a new championship/league structure

5 Opportunity to embed optimal sports science and competitive balance principles.

In a foreword to the circular GPA chief executive Paul Flynn said that 2020 has taught everybody a lot about how it is possible to condonse the fixture schedule.

"We now have an opportunity to shorten the season which is something you have told us you want."