The Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) announced there will be no representative from either London or New York in this year’s Ladies All Ireland football championship due to concerns over travel restrictions and quarantine regulations caused by Covid-19.
The LGFA management committee made the decision on 16 June, almost four months prior to when the inter-county championship games are due to commence, on the 17 October. Whilst Marie Hickey, President of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, said the decision was a very difficult to reach, she has defended the associations on not wasting any time to make the decision.
In contrast, the London Ladies Gaelic Football Club have vented their disappointment and frustration over the decision citing the London Men’s Football and Hurling team, who have been afforded time before a decision is being made.
With the London county players and management having prepared and trained so hard for this 2020 season, it will serve as a massive blow to the players.
A statement released by the London based club read:
A Chara / To whom it may concern,
We are contacting you as a collective, regarding the LGFAs decision to remove us from participation in this year’s 2020 Championship.
Like everyone involved in the LGFA, GAA and wider communities we have been left desolate with the effect of the global pandemic. Nonetheless, the sport we have grown up with has thought us to be resilient and persevere, to live in hope and to continue striving for our goals – as such we have remained hopeful, training hard since the beginning of the year with our respective clubs and county in readiness for the eagerly anticipated Championship season.
Understandably, to take a risk-based approach is paramount when planning the fixtures, but given there is a significant amount of time before the Championship starts and how much things can change in 4 months (as we have seen) – was the decision to remove us from the Championship not taken too soon?
In the year of #20×20 and #SeriousSupport, where we have been pushing women in sport to the fore, is this not a step backward on the Associations behalf? – leaving us to stand in the shadows of our counterparts who as of yet will still travel for October fixtures. With Championship not due to commence for another 4 months was it not an abrupt decision to deny London Ladies participation so far in advance?
London Men’s Football and Hurling, as well as Warwickshire Hurling have all been given the benefit of time before being eliminated from their respective competitions.
Is this not a perfect opportunity for the Association to show solidarity with all of its comrades and ensure equal treatment between men and women in sport? Is it not a perfect opportunity to lessen the disparity and embrace 20×20 in 2020 for all it stands for?
We urge you to please, please reconsider the decision and allow for a set of Championship fixtures in which London Ladies participation is permitted while also keeping the current devised fixtures as a backup in the instance travel is not possible.
Using this approach, alongside a cut-off point closer to Championship to re-evaluate circumstances would be of huge benefit to not only the competitiveness of the championship but also the mental and physical welfare of the players who have given years of their life to the Association.
In the event that Government advice is unfavourable and travel is not permitted without issue, at least we can say we have stood together and provided a level playing field for our sport.
Yours in Sport.
London Ladies Gaelic Football Team