Players and Officials Finding A Way

There are a lot of new faces around the decision making tables of the GAA in 2018 and it is inevitable that they will take a little bit of time to find the optimum way of working together.

In a week where rugby and football have dominated the front as well as the back pages, it was also inevitable that GAA reporters would be keen to find something of a story to keep their place amid the jostling and so that proved with a brighter than usual spotlight on the relationship between the GAA and the GPA this week.

The ‘flashpoint’ as it might have been seen in tabloid terms came over the introduction of new rules in Gaelic Football which will be seen for the first time on December 8th in the Leinster GAA pre-season tournament game between Louth and Wexford.

On Tuesday the question was asked as to how much engagement had taken place with the players around the new rules and that led to a meeting yesterday between GAA President John Horan and new GPA CEO Paul Flynn.

After the meeting the two sides issued a joint statement which read…

“The GAA and GPA can confirm that a meeting took place in Croke Park earlier today that included GAA President John Horan and GPA CEO Paul Flynn.”

“The meeting was held at the request of the GPA to seek further clarification on the process for the introduction of the trial playing rules in Gaelic Football.”

“It was noted that the initial part of the rules experimentation will take place in the upcoming Provincial Pre-Season competitions.”

“The GAA confirmed that there will be an opportunity at the next scheduled meeting of Ard Chomhairle on January 19 to review the proposals ahead of the Allianz Leagues.”

“The GPA have agreed to continue to liaise with the Standing Committee on the Playing Rules between now and January.”

So the rules will be judged over those initial few matches before any final decision is taken on whether they should then go forward into the Allianz Leagues.

The rules have been tweaked in response to a general feeling that football needs something to keep it fresh. Of course, the players who are engaged in their sport at the highest level would question whether that was needed. They are training and playing to a level way beyond that of the fans and commentators passing judgement.

They would prefer to feel that their views were being considered and that is what is happening. In fact, it has throughout with 230 players having a say through the GPA after a consultation with the Playing Rules Group in Croke Park, on which GPA President David Collins sits.

Everything is in hand, nothing to see here, move along now…

Image Credit: Morgan Treacy, Inpho.ie

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