GPA CEO Paul Flynn wont accept health and safety of players, their families and loved ones put at risk

A Dublin player is tackled by a Tyrone player during a championship match, the GPA have stated they will not accept any situation on a return to playing games after Covid 19 restrictions are lifted where players or their families are put at undue health risk

Talk continues about if and in what format there might be a return to GAA this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the GPA have stated that it “will not countenance a situation arising where players are asked to put themselves or their families and loved ones at undue risk”.

With social distancing rules due to remain in place even after there is a lifting of the current restrictions and football and hurling contacts sports, there was concern among players about their health and safety and that of their families.

The players body sent a communique to its members to assure them that they would under no circumstances accept undue risk to player, their families and loved ones and that they were in contact with similar organisations around the world who are looking at ways to return playing and they would look at all the options.

“There remains the genuine possibility that we will not see any return to action this year,” CEO Paul Flynn stated.

“However, we hope that the situation will change in the coming months, but public health advice will be the guiding principle.

“I can assure you that we will not countenance a situation arising where players are asked to put themselves or their families and loved ones at undue risk.

“Your health and safety are non-negotiable.”

GPA seeking greater clarity

With so much uncertainty during this current ever changing health Flynn accepted the GAA can’t deliver certainty regarding fixture, but he also stated that the GPA would push for greater clarity on the GAA’s contingency plans for the inter-county and club seasons.

“We accept that the GAA can’t deliver certainty around fixtures at this time. It is a fluid and ever-changing situation.

“However, what we would like to see is some further clarity around the GAA’s contingency plans for the inter-county and club season.”

Flynn was also conscious that the close contact nature of training and playing will cause a considerable challenge to a return to action while adhering to health guidelines and called on the GAA to consult external medical advice.

“The close contact nature of the playing and training environment which surrounds our games presents a heightened risk to the welfare of players, and a considerable challenge to return to action while adhering to social distancing and public health guidelines.

“It is important that the GAA engage external expert medical advice, to formulate an evidence-informed decision on a safe return to play.”