Dessie Farrell has announced he will step down as CEO of the Gaelic Players Association from the end of December. The news was confirmed in a statement from the Dublin footballer on the GPA website on Thursday morning.
In an article entitled: Letter of thanks from Dessie Farrell, CEO of the Gaelic Players Association, Farrell revealed that he had informed the board and officers of the GPA of his intention “some months ago” and believes “the organisation is well positioned now to introduce a change of leadership”.
A founder member of the organisation in 1999, the GPA has sought to support GAA players across the country with a range of issues including welfare and funding. It was involved in negotiating a historic new partnership agreement with the GAA in recent months, and has always sought to give players a meaningful voice within the association.
“It has been a tremendous honour to have led the GPA and to have served our county players over the past decade and half. We are all extremely proud of what has been achieved in that time and I feel truly privileged to have witnessed the growth, development and success of the organisation in that period.
“I want to acknowledge the GAA for their support – the various Presidents, committee and staff members whom we have worked closely with over the years. In so doing it is important to recognise the Director General, Paraic Duffy, and thank him for his resolute support of player welfare and his genuine and honest approach in dealing with players at all times.”
Addressing players specifically, he wrote: “I have been continuously inspired by your relentless pursuit of excellence and unwavering commitment to club, county and community. I encourage each of you to be aware of the rest of your life outside of the game and to ensure you can operate at your personal best off the field in same manner as you strive to do so on it.
“To bring the right balance to various aspects of your life, to spend time in developing a greater understanding of who you are separate from your identity as an athlete and in exploring your own purpose in life is a vital investment in your future and in that of those closest to you. As has been the case for so many players, the GPA is and will be there to support you.”
Former GPA chairman and founding member Donal Óg Cusack was among those to commend Farrell for his work, commenting: “It was my pleasure and privilege to have known and worked with Dessie Farrell for so many years. We fought many battles side by side and his passion, his integrity, his loyalty and his sense of right made the lives of all inter-county players a little easier. I owe Dessie a great debt as do, the GPA, all inter county players and the GAA generally.”
The recruitment for a new CEO will get underway early next month with a recommendation expected to be put to the GPA board before the end of the year.
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