Thursday 23 January 2020

GPA to address widening gap

Brolly's claims are 'incorrect' says former Dubs star Flynn

GPA’S Chief Executive Paul Flynn has hit back against the criticism of Joe Brolly. Photo: Sportsfile
GPA’S Chief Executive Paul Flynn has hit back against the criticism of Joe Brolly. Photo: Sportsfile

The GPA are currently in the process of drafting a long-term 'competitive balance' programme aimed at addressing the widening gap between the elite and the minnows of the inter-county scene.

The ambitious move comes from a motion passed at the GPA's recent AGM.

According to GPA CEO Paul Flynn, Croke Park officials have expressed a strong interest in exploring how best to create "an uncertainty of outcome" in competitions that increasingly, are being dominated by a small number of teams.

The AFL adopted such a policy in 1985, initially incorporating a salary cap and a draft system whereby the best young talent was spread towards the League's struggling teams.

Neither option is applicable to the GAA but Flynn suggested a system of shared expertise could be one way to start to fill the chasm.

"I think it's going to be a unique strategy to the GAA because we've a unique situation," Flynn stressed.


"One of the interesting things that the AFL do is administrators from very successful clubs are seconded to other clubs to put structures in place for them to educate them around what best practice is."

Flynn estimated that the effects of such a policy would take "around ten years" to come to fruition.

"You are not going to fix that in a two-year tenure. That is going to take long-term planning."

Flynn also poked back at the GPA's most recent critics, suggesting that some wilfully ignore facts about the player's body in their commentary.

In his Sunday Independent column last week, Joe Brolly said the GPA were 'Unchecked, unchallenged and detached from reality."

"No one even knows what the GPA inner circle pay themselves," Brolly wrote.

"Unchallenged, they have been able to create a fantasy world for themselves, creating a limited company along the same lines as Premier League soccer's PFA, with more money than they know what to do with."

This, according to Flynn at yesterday's publication of a report into the effects of playing inter-county football and hurling on students, was patently untrue.

The former Dublin star was adamant that "there were a couple of areas that were factually incorrect," in Brolly's column.

"We're very proud of our governance structures in the GPA," Flynn stressed. "Whether it's the fact that Deloitte, (are our) auditors, whether it's the fact that we're fully compliant with the 'Good Governance Code' for sporting organisations.

"Whether it's the fact that we've got sub-committees led by independent directors. One of them being 'Remcom' which decides salaries.

"Part of it that people don't know," Flynn suggested. "But another part of it is that people don't want to know."

Flynn added that part of his job now was "to close the gap between the perception that's out there and the reality" about the GPA.

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