The GAA Board must put an end to the poaching of Brittany players

The GAA Board must put an end to the poaching of Brittany players

GAA World Games 2019, July 28th to August 1st.

Imagine the uproar if England had been able to poach Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and a countless amount of players from Wales at soccer before the 2016 Euro finals: It is still happening with some continental GAA national teams ahead of the 2019 Renault GAA World Games in Waterford, especially in Brittany, equivalent in population to the Republic of Ireland.

National teams are a relatively new concept on the continental GAA scene, hence the lack of set eligibility rules relating to the selection of players. Other sports have tackled that matter for the benefit of all, especially when nations (otherwise called regions) share a common nationality. In soccer, 29 FIFA member associations share a common nationality with at least one other FIFA member association. Therefore, a FIFA rule applies to the following nationalities around the world: British (11 national teams), Chinese (3), Danish (2), Dutch (3), French (3), New Zealand (2) and USA (5).

Article 16 of the FIFA.

In these instances, under Article 16 of the FIFA statutes for Eligibility Rules, a player who is eligible to represent more than one Association on account of his nationality, may play in an international match for one of these Associations only if, in addition to having the relevant nationality, he fulfills at least one of the following conditions: “(a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association; (b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association; (c) His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association; (d) He has lived continuously on the territory of the relevant Association for at least two years”.

the gaa board, association athlétique gaélique

GAA Gaelic Athletic Association

GAA National Breton Team.

Gaelic Games Europe gave Brittany the right to set up its own national team at the end of 2011, which was confirmed by the GAA congress in Dublin in April 2012. This decision revived the “old spirit” of Ireland while the GAA, itself part of a stateless nation in the 19th century, recognised stateless Scotland as a GAA nation back in 1897. Brittany, which also holds a Celtic Wrestling national team, played its first ever GAA football international on 20th July 2012 while France did so on 15th November 2014. But, strangely enough, up to fifteen Brittany players were poached by France on the day despite both Brittany and France national teams holding separate status within Gaelic Games Europe. From that point, the poaching never ceased, including the 2016 GAA World Games.

The GAA Board must put an end to the poaching of Brittany players

As a matter of fact, we now vividly urge the GAA to adopt its own strict eligibility rules, which might follow a FIFA like frame, in order to put an end to the massive international poaching of the Brittany national team players in France and continental Europe. It is a matter of both principle and fairness, excluding any form of politics in the process. It would force any national body to develop its own pool of international players and abandon any poaching policy, no matter the reason hidden behind it. Ultimately, it would bring a greater credibility to all GAA international competitions.

Version en langue française :

L’Association Athlétique Gaélique (GAA) doit en finir avec le pillage des joueurs bretons.

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