independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Donegal facing sanction over €5 final ticket levy

DONEGAL County Board officials have been summoned to Croke Park explain why they breached GAA rules by charging an extra €5 each for All-Ireland final tickets.

A letter of explanation detailing the reasons for the levy was previously sought from the Donegal executive but the Sunday Independent can reveal that their explanation has been rejected by Croke Park.

When news of the price increase became public it was immediately condemned by the GAA's top table which outlawed the practice of imposing a levy on ticket prices two years ago.

"Donegal's letter of explanation was read out at the last Management Committee meeting but the explanation was rejected as 'not acceptable'," confirmed a source.

Board members must now travel to Dublin at the end of this month to further clarify the situation with the possibility of a fine looming.

Some clubs in the county are unhappy with the handling of the affair from the time news of the levy emanated.

"A lot of clubs just got on with it but we are more concerned at the way it was handled," said one club official who asked not to be named.

"€5 is nothing in the grand scheme of things but at a board meeting before the final it was widely accepted that there would be no levy at all. Then when club representatives turned up to collect our allocation tickets we were told that there was a slight price increase. It meant that some clubs had to rewrite cheques to a significant extent to incorporate the levy. They felt they wouldn't get tickets unless they did so -- and tickets were so scarce in the first place."

The county board have always insisted that there was never a tax placed on the highly sought-after tickets. Throughout the controversy chairman PJ McGowan maintained that the €5 hike was an optional charge on a ticket which entered the donor into a prize draw.

"We don't have a levy," said McGowan in the lead-up to the All-Ireland final. "We have a draw that is under way. Tickets are priced at €5."

Meanwhile, Down football manager James McCartan has pulled off a massive coup by landing highly regarded DCU professor Niall Moyna as a key member of his backroom team.

And Down hurling boss Gerard Monan has also given his side a massive boost with the appointment of Waterford legend Paul Flynn as the squad's new coach.

Until this week, Moyna was a front-runner for the Roscommon job before finally ruling himself out of contention. His most recent inter-county role was as an advisor to Pat Gilroy's Dublin side.

A Professor in the DCU School of Health and Human Performance, Moyna managed the DCU senior football team to three Sigerson Cups, two O'Byrne Cups and a Ryan Cup.

Gerard Monan has also signalled his intention to drive Down hurling forward with the addition of Flynn and selectors Martin McCusker and Stephen McAree.

Ballygunner native Flynn coached the Carlow senior hurling team until this year and has three Munster medals, one National League medal and an All Star award from his playing days. Flynn is Waterford's top championship scorer of all-time.

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