Wandsworth Gaels will appeal the decision of the CCC not to approve the club-to-club transfers of 12 of its players.
London’s newest Gaelic football club was due to play its first-ever match last Saturday, but was forced to give a walkover to Tir Chonaill Gaels in the first round of the McCardle Cup.
The club still turned up in force at Mitcham and instead played a challenge match against the Gaels.
The 12 players include the club’s PRO Declan Meehan, coach James O’Connell, Ronan Walsh, Ciaran Carr, Fergus Horan and Brian McBrearty. All six are ex-Tir Chonaill Gaels players and haven’t played for a number of years.
The players’ transfers were blocked on the proviso that club-to-club transfers are not permitted to new clubs in their first year of existence.
It’s a condition of affiliation, rather than a regulation, that other new clubs in London in recent years, such as Naomh Padraig, Eire Og, Brighton and Crawley Gaels and Fulham Irish, have had to abide by.
The 12 Wandsworth Gaels players will now take their case to the Provincial Council of Britain Hearings Committee.
“We are about community and participation first and foremost. We founded Wandsworth Gaels to create a platform for local players who were yet to join the London GAA community, and for those players who had been lost to it,” Meehan told the Irish World.
“On the night of our affiliation we were left in no doubt that any player could play for Wandsworth Gaels in 2018 if he met the following criteria – ‘If a player (currently registered to a London club) had not played for 48 weeks, played for no other club in those 48 weeks, was not a paying member of that club, and had no objection from said club’.
“The 12 players who have had their transfer turned down meet this criteria. The average age of these 12 players is 34. The average number of weeks since these 12 players last played for their respective London clubs is 187 weeks.
“We are disappointed and confused with the London County Board’s decision to block these 12 transfers. At the most recent county board meeting we asked for the rule on which the decision was made. The rule could not be produced and appears to not exist.
“These players collectively have given great service to London GAA. Many have represented the London county team and have won many honours between them in club competition. We believe London GAA has everything to gain by having these 12 players involved in their games once more. Everyone loses by turning us away.
“We have been told we must now have a hearing with the provincial hearings committee at a cost of €100 per player. We will respect the process and exhaust all avenues. We hope common sense wins the day.”
The original number of Wandsworth transfers confirmed as rejected at last week’s County Board meeting was 13. However, the club has since withdrawn one player as he played for a club in London last year.