Football: IT PAYS TO TALK; GPA Chief Farrell Calls on President-Elect Brennan to Discuss Player Grant Deal
Byline: Jackie CAHILL
THE GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell has requested an urgent meeting with the GAA President-elect Nicky Brennan.
Farrell wants the meeting before the proposed talks with Sports Minister John O'Donoghue due on March 8.
Ex-Dublin footballer Farrell had been left disappointed on Saturday - when the GAA's Central Council, of which he is a member, kicked for touch on the GPA's proposed player grant scheme - until Brennan begins his presidential term in April.
Farrell is insisting the GAA should support a motion urging the government to allocate grants to intercounty footballers and hurlers.
Brennan said that this issue will need to be addressed during his term of office - and the proposal was put on the long finger.
Farrell said last night this proposal has been on the table for the last 18 months - and that he can't understand the GAA's continued reluctance to discuss the issue.
"From the outset the GAA were supportive of the proposal, so I don't know what the problem is now," Farrell said.
"It's an issue that is not going to go away, so they can either engage with us and come to a workable resolution or they can try to fob us off.
"If they continue to ignore us, it's going to lead to increased player frustration," Farrell warned.
"Sports grants are the way forward and in no way damages the integrity of our games," he added.
"But it does appease players, because there is state recognition for their contribution.
"And if we go this road, we're not talking about a 'pay-for-play' scenario.
"Already, the GAA provides grants for students and universities do likewise for GAA players.
"Besides, the Association is professional in so many aspects - the administrators are paid, managers are paid and some players are paid," Farrell claimed. …