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Hundreds of Young Players in Victoria Being Ostracised by AUS GAA

  • 21-02-2020 1:57am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,426 ✭✭✭

    I have just seen a post by Wolfe Tone's Melbourne outlining the situation. It's terrible to see so many young people so far away, not being allowed play due to politics and corruption.

    Wolfe Tones Club Statement 20/02/2020

    As a club, we have been working behind the scenes with all parties to resolve the current issues relating to Victoria GAA in Melbourne. Since the unanimous decision by Australasia Council in Nov 2019 to no longer recognize GAA of Victoria Gaelic Park Inc. as the governing and controlling body of Gaelic Games in Victoria, the result meant that we were disaffiliated from the Gaelic Football & Hurling Association of Australasia; a meeting in which we were not invited or consulted in this process.

    The last round table club discussion between the Victorian Clubs that we as a club were involved in determined that the clubs would meet with Gaelic Park to address concerns about administrating the games. This did not occur, instead, four clubs along with an unaffiliated club wrote to the GFHAA and subsequently were invited to present a proposal to GFHAA. Melbourne Shamrocks, Sinn Fein and Wolfe Tones again were not invited to this meeting or be involved in the process in any way.

    We as a club voted to stay loyal to GAA Gaelic Park in respect to those Gaels that sacrificed so much to provide us with the fantastic facility, who has been a great ambassador, the home of Gaelic games in Victoria for 45 years and the only Irish owned GAA Ground in Australia.

    We would stress that as clubs we were not consulted at any point during this process (representing approx. 50% of the players in Victoria). Given the significance of this decision, Sinn Fein, Melbourne Shamrocks and Wolfe Tones lodged an appeal to GFHAA on the basis we were not consulted and no rationale for the decision had been provided by GFHAA.

    All four clubs requested an independent mediator be sought to mediate between all the Victoria clubs and Gaelic Park to ensure that the games were upheld and safeguarded for the year to allow time to rectify this issue and not affect the players. No response was provided to this request by the Australasian council.

    On the 1st December 2019, we received correspondence from GFHAA Secretary stating that we did not have grounds for appeal (refer to rules 54 and 108 in the Australasian GFHAA rule book).

    After we were denied an appeal and a response to our queries from the Australasian council, we as four clubs applied to GFHAA to be our own governing body and to affiliate to GFHAA. We are assured that GAA Gaelic Park Inc. will not interfere with our operations, (and are merely following legal requirements in the state of Victoria and by their own constitution). Again, our concerns were not addressed or acknowledged.

    As a result, we have been disaffiliated from GFHAA. We continue to promote Gaelic Games and Irish culture within our clubs with pride; by holding training sessions for all codes throughout the last few months. Throughout this period, we have been pressganged and scapegoated by the GFHAA to join the new Gaelic Games Victoria body who have not provided a reason why we were not included in the process.

    We have been blocked from participating in tournaments such as Garryowen GAA 9’s, Pearse’s 7s, Gosburn (NSW) and now Auckland, a tournament we were invited to on the 09/02/20 and subsequently uninvited due to direct pressure from the Australasia Secretary Gerard Roe and the GFHAA. This notice was received yesterday 19/02/20. This tournament is to be held on the 21st March and 22nd March 2020 in Auckland. Auckland is a three-hour flight from Melbourne. Players from Camogie, Gaelic football, Hurling and Ladies Football have all incurred expenses by booking flights, taking holiday leave and booking accommodation to play in this tournament, to continue the tradition of proudly playing our sport from a home away from home. This is our identity our culture and our passion and we are being denied by a governing body who have treated our long-serving clubs and members with no respect, and we cannot stay silent anymore.

    “GAA Where we all belong’’ Certainly does not appear that way!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,773 ✭✭✭✭Fr Tod Umptious

    Hi OP
    Any chance of a bit of context or background about this, rather than just a fairly lengthy statement from a club ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,426 ✭✭✭Neon_Lights

    Hi OP
    Any chance of a bit of context or background about this, rather than just a fairly lengthy statement from a club ?

    Basically a group of 5 clubs had deposed the Insitu official representative of the GAA in Victoria - VIC GAA over the "way games have been run". There were a few minor problems, however this has been the official home for Gaelic Games in Victoria for over 45 years.

    These were fairly well aligned with the current secretary of Australasia GAA who instated a new official affiliate Gaelic Games Victoria who deposed the previous representatives, after the deposed being in force for nearly half a century.

    However the issue herein lies that 3 clubs in Melbourne (Wolfe Tones, Shamrocks and Sinn Fein) who account for approx 50% of the player base were never consulted during the process to form the new organisation. Through various attempts to communicate with Australia GAA, appeal the decision or talk in an official with the new organisation these requests were refused, ignored or passed by. These clubs just wanted to sort things out so players could play in a safe and organised manner.

    The previous organisation who owns a facility in the area were willing to meet in the middle. This group was willing for a games committee to be run autonomously by the new organisation. However, they needed final say in extreme cases such as heat waves, as owners of the they would take the hit for public liability. This was not good enough for the new organisation.

    Now the new organisation is trying to bully other clubs not currently affiliated into joining the new organisation, where various issues have not been addressed. Lengthy bans are being threatened to clubs who play unaffiliated teams and case in point for Wolfe Tones, who were invited to a tournament in Auckland (also deposed by the same secretary and now seeking reaffiliation), was revoked over this, from pressure by Australasia GAA. This is in spite of rules being fairly lax about unaffiliated clubs playing previously.

    Players have outlayed thousands to book flights, accommodation, book holidays off work just to play Gaelic Games and Celebrate Irish culture.