By Denis J. Croke
A SURVEY by the Club Players’ Association (CPA) has found that only 57% of club players are willing to return to training before there is a Covid-19 vaccine in place.
The survey also shows that any relaxation of social distancing is unlikely to make the resumption of Gaelic Games more likely. Among club players there is little appetite for intercounty action, with only a third prepared to attend county matches. Over a quarter of players live with a vulnerable person.
“Club players are at the centre of the return to play conversation. The survey results indicate that a significant number of club players believe that until games are safe, they do not want to play. It presents a challenge for the future of the GAA but one we feel that as a community of players and members we can face and surmount together,” said CPA Chairperson Micheál Briody.
“There has been a phenomenal voluntary effort at club level to assist elderly and vulnerable people in the fight against Covid-19. The GAA as an association has shown real leadership. It is further evidence of the importance of the grassroots GAA to the fabric of Irish society and further highlights the need for the games to be more community centric going forward,” he added.
Survey findings, completed by 3,008 respondents, included:
*57% are prepared to return to action in 2020, 22% are not prepared to return and 21% don’t know at this stage.
*61% are prepared to attend club games whilst only 34% are prepared to attend intercounty games.
*27% of club players live with a person over 70 years of age or a vulnerable individual.
*64% would train or play if there was temperature checking in place.
“We have sent a copy of the survey results yesterday to Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan so he could pass it onto the Covid-19 Advisory Group. We have also indicated to him that we will make available our database of members to the Advisory Group should they wish to survey or communicate with club players on any point in their deliberations,” concluded Mr Briody.