CPA raise fears over conflict of interest in RTÉ’s coverage of championship restructure

The Club Players Association have hit out at RTÉ’s coverage of the issues around reforming the football championship structure, suggesting that the State broadcaster have a conflict of interest when it comes to making a ‘Super Eight’ quarter-final structure.

Padráic Duffy’s proposals would see two groups of four contesting the All-Ireland quarter-finals, meaning there would be 12 games rather than four at that stage, and RTÉ, as the broadcaster with the most amount of coverage on gaelic games, would benefit from the increase in the number of matches.

Speaking to the Irish Times, CPA chairman Micheál Briody outlined the problems around the discussion that was held on the League Sunday show between Dick Clerkin, Brendan Cummins and Donal O’Grady, who were all in favour of Duffy’s proposals.

“We did have a private meeting with Páraic last week, discussed our stance, and pleaded with him to withdraw the proposals. Okay, he didn’t. No surprise there.

“But what we also think is that senior media have not been overly friendly, or overly fair, to the alternative argument, because there is conflict of interest. That would be mainly within RTÉ. We saw the segment on the League Sunday, last Sunday, where they discussed the proposals, and never once gave the alternative view. No one looked at it.

“The fact that RTÉ are a sponsor of the championship and therefore had a conflicted interest wasn’t lost on our members as RTÉ licence payers.

“So we’d be very aware of the media bias that’s out there. RTÉ talked about all the work being done on it, taking it around the country. Where? Who asked any players? Everyone is going around patting themselves on the back, and we’re going ‘my God, where is the voice of the club player? And the intercounty player?’ Because this is wrong, and the GAA needs to stop it now and put in a proper solution.”