“I spoke to Jack Chambers and he confirmed to me there is no change in the status of the GAA as an elite sport.”
Independent TD Fitzpatrick has claimed he has spoken to Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers and was told that the GAA would be included as an elite sport next week when the Government’s Living with Covid-19 plan is changed.
The former Louth manager was speaking after it was announced that there would be no return to GAA activity until after Easter at the earliest.
“I spoke to Jack Chambers and he confirmed to me there is no change in the status of the GAA as an elite sport,” Fitzpatrick told the Irish Daily Mail.
‘There is going to be a review. The Government will sit down with the GAA, and while Level 5 restrictions will be extended, my personal view is that the Government will allow the GAA to go ahead with their League and Championships as planned.
“I anticipate the League could start by the end of March or the beginning of April.”
GAA elite status
The GAA made their latest announcement seemingly off the back of public health advice.
However, Fitzpatrick believes the GAA made the decision themselves and all could change on February 22, once more changes are made to the Living with Covid-19 plan.
‘That was a GAA decision made by the GAA,” Fitzpatrick continued.
“The Government told Croke Park that no decision would be made until it drew up its new Living with Covid plan.
“Jack Chambers confirmed to me that the Government never mentioned Easter and that a new roadmap would be published inside the next two weeks.
“I anticipate the GAA will sit down with the Government inside the next two weeks and the National Leagues will start by April.
“The Leagues have already been set out in an abbreviated manner in groups of four to allow it to be played in a condensed time period and that is exactly what I expect to see happen – and we can still get the All-Ireland Championship finished by August.”
The 58-year-old feels that the GAA should do everything in their power to get inter-county back in action, even if this requires more funding from the Government.
“The GAA should say to the Government it needs adequate funding, come up with a roadmap and do what it did last year by getting things back up and running while ensuring the health and welfare of players is looked after,” Fitzpatrick explained.
“Whatever has to be done, let’s do it but nothing will happen until after the end of this month.”
With Louth having appointed Micky Harte as their new senior football manager, Fitzpatrick will be eager to get their teams back playing as soon as possible.