The controversial “Super 8” proposal was passed on Saturday morning, in a move that has caused general outcry at player and club level.
Under the new system, which was passed by majority of 76% of the delegates voting at the annual GAA Congress last weekend, will see the All-Ireland football quarter-finalists enter into two groups with a round robin format, adding extra matches to the workload at inter-county level in July and would also mean that the All-Ireland finals would move to August on the calendar.
It is set to come in from the 2018 season and run on a three-year trial basis, but while reaction to the Super 8 has not been positive, GAA director general Páraic Duffy has come out swinging against the dissenting voices.
Duffy is adamant that the GAA won’t be “run on Twitter” and places the feet squarely at the Club Players’ Association for orchestrating a divide in the organisation:
“It’s being driven. I met with the CPA four times and the first two meetings were extremely positive meetings.
“We didn’t change the narrative — I have never said one negative thing about the CPA. The strongest thing I said was I was disappointed they rejected the proposals out of hand.
“I think the people writing those things need to look at themselves. I met them four times and I’m happy to meet them again — the GAA wants to engage. Michael Higgins is a national executive member of the CPA; Michael Higgins is a member, appointed by Aogán (Farrell) and I two years ago, of the central fixtures analysis committee. What are we supposed to do? It’s not being driven by us. You saw at Congress — the GAA aren’t looking for a row here.”
Quotes via Irish Examiner
When it was put to Duffy that Wicklow manager Johnny Magee had called for strike action in the wake of the motion being passed, he replied that this sort of sentiment would be commonplace on social media, and while he feels that Magee (and others) are free to express their opinion on the matter via Twitter or Facebook etc., those channels were not going to have much influence in how the GAA is run:
— Johnny Magee (@JohnnyMagee06) February 25, 2017
“I could go onto Twitter this evening and get any number of those (remarks). We’re not going to run the GAA by Twitter. If you keep asking those kinds of questions, I’m going to look as if I’m annoyed, which I probably am.
“If that’s what I’m going to get down to answering — Johnny Magee’s call — that’s his right. It’s a free country so he’s entitled to do that. As are all these other people.”
With new Gaelic Players Association CEO calling the Super 8 a “slap in the face”, it looks as though neither side is particularly minded to back down and the debate over this highly-controversial motion is set to run for some time yet.