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GAA Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan
GAA Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan

There is a job to do on fixtures – Ard Stiúrthóir


GAA Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan has pledged to see a major review of fixtures take place in 2019.

Last weekend saw a Roscommon CPA motion for a black canvass approach to fixture making defeated by Central Council – a defeat which prompted an angry response from the body.

In taking issue with the Roscommon CPA response, Ard Stúrthóir Ryan insists that fixtures remain a top priority and that the CPA will be a part of the GAA response to that.

He said: “The inference of it was, I suppose, that there was some concerted effort to suppress the thing or to undermine the chances of the motion passing.

“And that wasn’t the case. It absolutely wasn’t the case. I think counties had very early sight of that particular motion. It was well-aired. It was the talk of the country really.”

Despite the defeat of the blank canvass motion the issue of club fixtures and the GAA calendar remain a major issue for the Director General as he faces into the 2019 agenda.

He added: “The motion for whatever reason didn’t get through. But I don’t think, to be fair to the CPA, that isn’t the end of that particular debate.

“Is there an issue for discussion? There clearly is. There is a job for us to do on fixtures and there is a job for us to do on club fixtures.

“And they will be part of that particular exercise.

“What we had undertaken to do was enter into a three-year trial period with the structures that are there at the moment.

“We’ve seen one year of it. And we’re about to embark on the second year of it next year. Part of that was that we would look at what was working and what wasn’t working at the end of the year (2019).

“The CPA are very keen that that would happen with a blank canvass or a blank sheet. And I can see the appeal of that. But it just poses a few practical difficulties.

“It’s a bigger thing than the specific motion that went to Central Council last Saturday. So leaving aside that motion and how it was transacted, we do see that there is an issue.

“And we do want the CPA to be part of solving that.”

Roscommon CPA had queried whether ample time was given for their blank canvass motion to be discussed. This has been rejected by the GAA.

The GAA has reiterated that the original motion went to all counties from the CPA on November 6 and was then again distributed to counties by Croke Park on Monday, November 19. It was initially mistakenly omitted from the first documents dispatched that morning but was corrected and resent 25 minutes later.

The full pack of documentation distributed by Croke Park included the motion again on Thursday November 22 in advance of the November 24 Central Council meeting. Every county had the motion more than two weeks before the Central Council meeting.

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