Michael Duignan at the Special Congress on Saturday PIC: Sportsfile
Offaly GAA County Board chairman Michael Duignan has reacted with disappointment to the defeat of Proposal B at the Special GAA Congress at Croke Park on Saturday.
Both Proposal A and B restructuring proposals for the GAA intercounty football championship were defeated by delegates.
While Proposal B was defeated heavily, there had been hope among players and supporters that Proposal B, a move to a league-based championship, would surpass the 60% majority needed.
In the end, it achieved just over 50% and remains on the cutting room floor of the GAA reforms room as it were.
Michael Duignan, who was a vocal supporter of Proposal B, took to Twitter after attending Congress and said he was "very disappointed."
"Very disappointed for players & supporters throughout the country that Proposal B was not successful today. There is now an opportunity & urgent need to consult again & bring back an amended proposal to Congress in February. Change is needed and we have to listen to our players," he wrote.
Very disappointed for players & supporters throughout the country that Proposal B was not successful today. There is now an opportunity & urgent need to consult again & bring back an amended proposal to Congress in February. Change is needed and we have to listen to our players.— Michael Duignan (@DuignanMichael) October 23, 2021
Speaking to Marty Morrissey of RTE directly after the vote, Duignan, an All-Ireland winning hurler with Offaly, went further: "
"I think it's an opportunity missed," he said.
"When you hear Tom Parsons' view where 80% of the players were in favour of change and you have 50% of the delegates not representing that view, there's a mismatch there somewhere.
"A lot of people that spoke against it said they saw merit in the proposals but that they wanted more debate. There has been a lot of debate, it has been going on for two years, so I don't take that on board.
"The appetite for change just wasn't there.
"I think a lot of the people that voted today were protecting their own interests," he claimed. They are strong counties that don't want to change and they are forgetting about a large amount of players.
"Maybe some of the groundwork wasn't done that should have been done. I think provincial councils probably needed more surety, we could have guaranteed their income.
"I suppose it's democracy. Sometimes I have a view that maybe there's too much democracy in the GAA, when it comes decision like this, because they are so important."
Former GAA President Seán Kelly, who also voted Yes to Proposal B, echoed Duignan's sentiments in the wake of the vote.
"Now, we should go back and consult, particularly with the players. Because this will be seen as turning our backs on 80% of them and that's serious, because they're the people who make the sacrifices and play the games," he remarked to Morrissey.
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