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14th Mar 2022

Colm O’Rourke tells Parsons “GPA are throwing their toys out of the pram”

Niall McIntyre

Joanne Cantwell had to play the mediator as Colm O’Rourke and Tom Parsons got stuck into it on The Sunday Game.

GPA CEO Tom Parsons was first up, and he explained why GAA players are aggrieved at the moment, and why they refused to give interviews at the weekend. The Mayo man’s argument was that, while GAA players agreed to a reduction in their expenses during the pandemic, the pandemic is over now and the original rates should be restored.

“We feel the GAA get a very favourable deal,” said Parsons, “and generate hundreds of millions of euros off inter-county players and inter-county games. In response, players don’t want to pay to play.

“During Covid, players agreed to take a significant reduction expenses for 2020/2021. The agreement was that, once Covid ends, players would receive their travel expenses as they did in 2019. And that hasn’t happened,” he said.

“The GAA made a surplus of 13.5 million in 2021. And that drove players mad. Players just want to receive their expenses for all sessions, whether they’re asked to train two times or seven times a week.”

And that’s what drives Colm O’Rourke mad. The Meath man feels that the GAA are doing their bit, in covering four sessions per week for expenses and he feels that if it goes above four sessions per week, that should come back to individual county boards.

“Well when I saw what the GAA were offering, 65cent a mile, nutrition expenses, gear expenses, I thought to myself, that looks remarkably generous. And the whole idea that you need more than four sessions a week, then there is a mechanism there to negotiate with the county board.”

“The other side of it is what the GPA want is unlimited expenses.

“I think that’s a move towards semi-professionalism. When I look at the GAA, I think the offer is generous. Tom is saying these inter-county players don’t get anything out of it, and none of us want to see players out of pocket – they get the enjoyment, the health benefits, the privilege of playing in Croke Park.

“97% of GAA players are club players, who get no expenses at all so in many ways, the county players are a privilege group. And it does appear that, because they’re not getting their own way, the GPA are throwing their toys out of the pram.”


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