AT THE LAUNCH of the Gaelic Players Association’s 2018 annual report today, CEO Paul Flynn unveiled four motions that will be voted on by inter-county players at their AGM tomorrow in Dunboyne Castle.

The GPA expect around 70 players to attend the AGM and will take a vote on the following motions:

  1. Introduction of a centralised expenses system – Brought forward by the Carlow footballers, the motion seeks to approve that the GPA seek the removal of the administration of expenses from individual county boards and formalise a centrally administered online expense platform for inter-county players through negotiations with the GAA. 
  2. Review concussion management protocols – Brought forward by the GPA’s Player Safety and Welfare Committee, the motion would see the GPA call for a review of the GAA’s current concussion management guidelines to be undertaken to address concerns with the on-pitch management of head injuries and the education of key stakeholder groups on the area of concussion. 
  3. Lobby for the establishment of a group to review competitive balance within the GAA – Based on the premise that the competition must be built on the basic philosophy of ensuring every county believe their team have the chance to win in any game. The GPA want this group to learn from other sports like the AFL and NFL, who’ve continued to review competitive balance to maintain high levels of competitiveness. 
  4. Formalise WGPA partnership – The WGPA and GPA have had a close working relationship and a formal partnership would facilitate significant growth and promote sustainability in the WGPA. The GPA’s National Executive Committee are seeking approval from the membership to formalise this partnership.

Elsewhere in the annual report, the GPA reported an increase of 17% in players engaging with player development programmes (1,107), in addition to a 6% increase in the number of programmes delivered (1,553).

For the first time this year, the players’ body held a Rookie Camp with 73 new inter-county squad members present. They discussed areas such as social media use, building resistance, brand management and nutritional advice.

In terms of finances, 76% of all net revenues were allocated towards player welfare, which was above their stated objective of 75%. The GPA reported a 10% reduction in operating costs, while revenue increased by 5%.

The 11% staffing costs decrease was related to vacant roles in the organisation for part of 2018. Dermot Early stepped down as CEO in January 2018 and Seamus Hickey played an interim role before Flynn took up the mantle in September. 

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The organisation finished with an operating surplus of €306,300 in 2018 in part due to Flynn putting all projects on hold after his arrival to gain an understanding of the operation. They forecast a slight deficit at the end of 2019 with all projects up and running and an all-time high level of engagement from players.

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