THE crackdown on 'illegal' payments in the GAA has entered a key phase as team managers and their various assistants, plus senior county officials, have been given until the end of December to sign a commitment that they are complying with the 'amateur status' rules.
As part of the latest attempt to eradicate under-the-counter payments, Croke Park has issued the county management team register for 2013 to all counties, seeking information on the arrangements entered into between county boards and the entire back-room teams.
Arriving at this stage has been a lengthy process, involving a discussion document prepared by director-general Paraic Duffy which went unpublished for 15 months before a decision was finally taken to retain the existing arrangements on amateurism. However, strict new powers were granted to Croke Park, extending to a requirement for managements and county boards to sign a formal document stating the precise nature of all deals.
The team manager, plus selectors, medical personnel and all others associated with county teams, must sign the document, giving details of the date and term of their appointment, the amount of fees, expenses and other benefits paid by county boards and others in the course of the year.
Each statement by management personnel must be counter-signed by the county board chairman, secretary, treasurer and Central Council delegate, guaranteeing that the figures are accurate and giving a solemn commitment that the rules on amateurism are being complied with.
In order to police the new arrangements, Croke Park plans to carry out random checks on counties next year, despatching financial experts to examine the books.
Croke Park is hoping that by demanding full disclosure of financial details, individuals will be reluctant to engage in under-the-counter deals. However, sceptics remain unconvinced and suspect that ways around the new regulations will be exploited.