COUNTY camogie and ladies football panels have announced they will conclude the 2023 season “under protest” at a GPA-arranged press conference in Dublin on Monday morning.
Representatives competing in the senior grade in both codes were present at the Radisson Hotel at Dublin Airport on behalf of players across senior, intermediate and junior ranks.
The following statement was released on behalf the senior county camogie and ladies football panels:
“We find ourselves in a situation we never wished to be in, echoing the experiences of our soccer and rugby counterparts in recent years,” the statement began.
“Regrettably, we feel that our national governing bodies do not want to hear our real concerns, so we’re speaking directly to you.
“We will play the remainder of the 2023 championship under protest.
“Our representative body, the GPA, released the State of Play report two months ago which shed light on significant issues within our training and playing environments.
“The main request has been well documented. We asked the LGFA, Camogie Association and the GAA to engage in discussions with the GPA to to develop a charter designed for female players to be implemented in the 2024 season.
“This charter would establish minimum standards for our collective welfare.”
As also outlined on the statement, the GPA contacted the three National Governing Bodies, seeking collaboration to achieve the charter.
“The GAA since declined our proposal. The Camogie Association, however, did request a presentation to be made their Ard Chomhairle, which took place last week. Regrettably, the LGFA has not deemed it appropriate to respond,” the statement continued,
“Their primary rationale is that they prefer to complete the integration process before initiating a charter for female players. Despite the evidence presented, they expect us to wait to patiently endure the treatment of second-class citizens.
“We are no longer willing to wait. It has been over 18 months since the integration process was declared a priority and voted in by the membership of the three Associations.
“While the National Governing Bodies claim to be listening, it is evident that they are not truly hearing us.
“Urgent issues affecting player welfare have been brought to their attention, yet they refuse to engage collectively to discuss solutions.
“We as players are not receiving the respect we deserve. Therefore, do not expect business as usual in the coming weeks and months.
“In recent months Cavan’s footballers and Kildare’s camogie players have shown us what potentially lies in wait for all of us if nothing changes.
“We are not willing to wait for 56 more individual battles to arise.
“We stand here together, unified. And together we will remain resolute in our pursuit of a better future.”
In response, the LGFA issued the following statement:
“The Ladies Gaelic Football Association notes with surprise the statement issued by the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) today on behalf of female inter-county panels.
“The LGFA wishes to address some items mentioned in the GPA statement.
“Despite claims to the contrary, the LGFA was actively involved in correspondence arising from the publication of the GPA’s ‘State of Play’ Equality report.
“The GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association were asked to ‘collectively’ commence discussions with the GPA following the circulation of a memo to National Governing Bodies (NGBs) on Squad Charters in early May.
“On behalf of the three Associations, a response was issued to point out that we are currently in a process of integration, and that inter-county charters will be one of the items for discussion.
“The LGFA also wishes to reiterate its commitment to the integration process and dialogue will continue with key stakeholders.
“The LGFA takes issue with the suggestion that inter-county players are treated like ‘second class’ citizens.
“It should be noted that, in 2023, over €1.4m of Government funding will be allocated to LGFA inter-county squads to assist with player expense claims.
“Of this figure, over €900,000 is allocated directly to player expenses, while almost €500,000 is designated for LGFA team funding.
“The LGFA’s Central Council continues to recognise and acknowledge the vital role of the inter-county player – and earlier this year agreed that the full LGFA allocation (€1.4m) of Government funding would be assigned to player expenses for 2023, with the LGFA self-funding the team element for counties.
“Additionally, the live-streaming of all adult inter-county games, not shown live by TG4, from the Lidl National Leagues and TG4 All-Ireland Championships, provides inter-county management teams with an outstanding and unique service to assist with internal analysis.
“From the outset, the LGFA and the Camogie Association have worked pro-actively and diligently to secure this much-needed Government support, for the betterment of our players, which is then distributed to the various squads via the GPA, following sign-off by the inter-county support group (ISG).
“The ISG is comprised of representatives from the three Gaelic Games Associations (GAA, LGFA, Camogie), the GPA and Sport Ireland.
“Since the publication of the ‘State of Play’ report, the LGFA has worked closely with county boards, who submitted figures relating to the preparation of adult inter-county teams during the 2023 Lidl National Football Leagues.
“Figures received indicate that a minimum of €1.8m was spent by county boards in the preparation of teams throughout the Lidl National Leagues in 2023, and with more to come during Championship season.
“This is a significant investment from county boards, who operate in a volunteer capacity with limited resources – and with a full schedule of activity to attend to, both at club and inter-county levels.
“We wish all of our inter-county players well for the remainder of the Championship season and we look forward to more superb action on the playing fields.”