The Gaelic Players Association’s (GPA) Annual General Meeting has been told that the player’s body supported a record 1448 individual players in 2019, a 31% increase on the previous twelve months. The AGM also heard that 81% of the GPA’s net revenue was spent directly on player welfare and player development services; an exceptional performance that significantly exceeds the association’s yearly target of 75% and is up 5% compared to 2018.
Chairman Seamus Hickey and CEO Paul Flynn outlined some of the other key highlights from the report (which can be read in full here: https://annualreport.gaelicplayers.com/) which were presented at the AGM including:
- the development of our long-term strategy with Sustainable Amateurism at its core
- the progress on fixtures reform through the Fixtures Review Taskforce
- negotiation of €3 million Government Grants Funding
- the GPA’s inaugural Balance 2020 player welfare conference
- the launch of our Student Report
- our second Rookie Camp targeting players entering the inter-county game
- the establishment of the GPA’s Transition Camp aimed at players exiting the game
While the 2019 Annual Report was an opportunity to reflect, it was also an opportunity to outline the key priorities for 2020 and beyond. Including:
- monitoring the development of Covid-19 and its potential impacts on the 2020 season
- the conclusion of the work on fixtures reform through the Fixtures Review Taskforce
- the digital transformation of the GPA’s service offerings to allow for an ‘On Demand’ approach for players
- the successful conclusion of negotiations with the GAA
- finalising the formal integration between the GPA and WGPA
The GPA’s Head of Operations and Finance Ciarán Barr reported that “2019 was another positive financial year” for the organisation. He highlighted that €2.6 million had been invested in the health, welfare and development of players alongside a further €3 million in Government Grant Funding. A net surplus of just over €87,000 was reported overall.
There were three motions down for decision at the AGM, all of which were passed. These will now form part of the GPA’s work in the coming weeks and months.
Motion 1: Lobby GAA and Sport Ireland for review of anti-doping education process to ensure education is completed before January 31st.
Rationale: This is to ensure education is completed before testing starts. (Yes 98%)
Motion 2: Development of GPA workgroup to determine the ‘optimal physical player contact time’ for inter-county players.
Rationale: Based on recommendations from the ESRI and GPA Student Reports which highlighted the significant impact of the inter-county game on players personal and professional commitments, the GPA will establish a workgroup to develop the optimal time for inter-county player contact time to help more robust policy and control to improve the inter-county playing environment. Very importantly, this will be a science-led approach. (Yes 100%)
Motion 3: Development of ‘GPA Confidential Disclosure’ platform to help review squad adherence to offseason.
Rationale: The ESRI report indicated that 40% of inter-county admitted having no off-season in the calendar year while the 2019 GPA survey showed that 67% of players would be supportive of stronger player adherence to no inter-county training before December 1st. This platform, as has been implemented in other sports, will provide the capability for players to report, confidentially any local breaches of closed season training regulations. (Yes 96%)
The AGM also ratified the appointments of new members to the GPA’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Galway’s Padraig Mannion, Tyrone’s Niall Morgan and Tipperary’s Niall O’Meara join the group. Sincere thanks were expressed to outgoing NEC members Aidan Forker (Armagh), David Collins (Galway), Brendan Maher (Tipperary) and Independent Director Fergus Clancy.