Credibility of GAA at stake over payments to managers - Fitzgerald
Credibility is at stake if the GAA doesn't clean up its act in relation to the alleged payments to managers.
So Munster Council chief executive Pat Fitzgerald will say in his annual report to convention in Listowel on Friday next, when former Kerry chairman Sean Walsh takes over from Jimmy O'Gorman as provincial chairman.
Fitzgerald contends that these alleged payments are "an issue which we need to tackle", a recurring theme among GAA officials over the last 12 months.
"We expect our players and officials to perform on a voluntary basis and yet, anecdotally, we hear stories of supporters' clubs or some such other group paying managers at both club and county level. This must cease if we are to be credible in what we say," he argues.
"I do not wish to tarnish the commitment of most team managers or supporters' clubs with this statement as I know of many, many managers who never received even expenses for their contribution of time and expertise."
His comments following strong references to the issue from the last two GAA presidents but so far the association has not moved to tackle the issue in any meaningful way.
Fitzgerald welcomes the agreement between the GAA and the GPA but suggests that the words 'strike' or 'picket' have no place in the association's vernacular.
"I respect any player who wishes to remove themselves for whatever reason from their respective inter-county panel," writes the Limerick native. "However I believe the term 'strike' or 'picket' has no place in the GAA vocabulary.
"I say this as a former trade union representative as our games and our association is amateur and the voluntary efforts of our members is what sustains us."
Fitzgerald also says it is only fair and right that the days of expecting players "to play and shut their mouths are over".