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Last Updated: Friday, 16 February 2007, 18:26 GMT
Tyrone letter leads to GPA anger
Sean Cavanagh
Sean Cavanagh has hit out at the Tyrone county board
The row over Tyrone county board's call for the GAA not to recognise the GPA has escalated after a statement from the Tyrone football and hurling panels.

A statement issued by the GPA said the panels "categorically distanced" themselves from the letter sent by the Tyrone board to Croke Park.

"Both panels wholeheartedly support formal recognition of the GPA," added Friday evening's statement.

"Both panels refuse to have the board speak for us."

Earlier on Friday, Tyrone football star Sean Cavanagh rejected the board's criticisms and he now has been joined by his county colleagues in making clear their displeasure at the county board's actions.

"They were not speaking for me or the Tyrone footballers, or the majority of GAA people in this county," he said.

He added: "I totally reject the comments made by the Tyrone county board in this letter.

"The players have earned the right to be officially recognised through the GPA."

We assert our right again, to be represented in an independent players association
Tyrone panels' statement

Friday evening's statement said that the Tyrone footballers and hurlers did not believe that "formal recognition of the player's body will, in any way, impinge on the structures of the GAA".

"Only a fortnight ago, our football panel was involved in a fixture which drew over 82,000 people to Croke Park.

"This facilitated the GAA's leadership in putting on a spectacular display for the unveiling of their new floodlights prior to the arrival of international sport the following week.

"We would expect that, given the support afforded to Croke Park by the players of Tyrone and Dublin, Croke Park will, in turn, now distance itself from the malicious comments included in the Tyrone Co Board's letter to Mr Brennan.

The statement added that the football squad had had "a number of welfare issues in recent weeks as has the the hurling squad in seasons past".

"We find it ironic that at this particular juncture our county board should seek to castigate the GPA.

"We assert our right again, to be represented in an independent players association.

"We will not tolerate any effort by the county board to block or hamper the negotiations currently underway between Croke Park and the GPA.

Tyrone chairman Pat D'Arcy
Tyrone chairman Pat D'Arcy's letter has caused controversy

"The county board does not speak for ALL GAA members in Tyrone."

The "welfare issues" referred to are believed to stem from the availability of tickets for Tyrone players for the recent floodlit game against Dublin.

The GAA has been negotiating with the Gaelic Players Association in recent months in a move which could eventually lead to it recognising the body.

In the letter the board said players are already represented by the GAA's powerful Central Council.

The letter is critical of the GPA's public show of strength last year when all matches in the opening round of the National Football League were delayed by 20 minutes.

Concern is also expressed that by giving the GPA preferential status other groups like referees, managers and supporters may seek a similar standing.

Tyrone feel this would disturb one of the strengths of the GAA - its sense of balance across all parts of the association.

Red Hands chairman Pat Darcy, who wrote the letter, said all county board delegates support the sentiments expressed in the letter.

GAA could recognise players body
21 Nov 06 |  Gaelic Games
GAA and GPA agree to more talks
02 May 06 |  Gaelic Games

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