‘We need to try to end the practice of money being offered to attract top inter-county players to the USA’

September 17, 2021 0 By HearthstoneYarns

ATTEMPTS WILL BE made to curb the practice of inter-county GAA players being paid to play in the USA during the summer months and stop the exodus of players after their county’s opening provincial games.

A motion to next month’s GAA Congress will seek to prevent players travelling Stateside as long as their counties are still involved in the championship.

It’s been a major issue for several counties in recent years that players opt to depart in June after early provincial championship exits and before the All-Ireland qualifiers begin.

GAA Director-General Páraic Duffy has backed the submission of the motion from US GAA and feels there must be a move to stop players being offered financial incentives to head across the Atlantic.

If the motion is passed, it would bring back the date for obtaining a sanction to 1 July from 20 July.

“We need to try to end the practice of money being offered to attract top inter-county players to the USA, including New York, who become available following their county’s elimination from the championship,” said Duffy.

“It leaves their home clubs without their services, displaces American-born players and utterly ignores our rules on amateurism.

“The actions of a handful of clubs with wealthy benefactors who pay these players to play shows a contempt for the GAA and its values.

“There will be those who will argue that the presence of these players is a boost to supporters abroad, but, if this is so, it is at the expense of their clubs in Ireland, American-born players and of our rules on amateur status.”

Páraic Duffy with Aogán Ó Fearghail at yesterday’s launch of his annual report

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Duffy personally is not a fan of the current system whereby players can be authorised to play for a weekend in New York.

But he is adamant that there should not be a widespread ban on students playing GAA in the USA.

“There is an important distinction to be made here. Many of our players who travel to the USA are students; such travel has long been part of the student experience.

“It has also long been accepted that these students should be given the opportunity to assist American clubs during their summer in the USA.

“It appears that a small number of students are receiving inducements to play with certain clubs, but it would be unfair to students in general to impose a ban on all short-term playing in America.

“The weekend authorisation thing for New York: personally I don’t agree with it but it’s there and it’s all above board and I can live with that but players are being brought to America and they are being paid.

“There’s a growing realisation in the States that this has to change and that’s why I welcome the motions on this but I accept that there’s very little that can be done about individuals who pay players from here to go out.”

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