Tipp on collision course
Croke Park clampdown leaves Evans battling to keep dual role
TIPPERARY are on a collision course with Croke Park over the appointment of John Evans as their director of football after the GAA's management committee took a firm stance last weekend on banning full-time employees from taking on any other coaching roles.
Tipperary recently installed Evans in the full-time position as part of a new 10-year plan to develop football in the Premier County.
He was already the Tipperary senior football manager (a separate, unpaid role) and is continuing in that, which is contrary to the GAA's contract stipulations for full-time employees.
There was previously a loophole in these contracts that allowed full-time GAA employees to seek a derogation, through their county or province, if they wanted to continue coaching a team at club or county level.
It was such a derogation, from his employers Munster Council, where he is a leading coach, that allowed Pat O'Shea continue as the Kerry senior football manager for two seasons.
But before Christmas, the GAA revised their full-time contracts to close this loophole.
Their contracts now include a clause that stipulates that all full-time employees are not eligible to coach, train, manage, select or have "any other related involvement" with any team, unless it is with their home club.
The GAA's management committee reaffirmed this stance at their meeting last Saturday, which means that Evans will have to give up one of his roles with Tipperary.
GAA president Christy Cooney verified yesterday that a firm directive on the issue is about to be sent out, but would not elaborate any further.
He did confirm that a letter from Tipperary on the subject was dealt with by management last Saturday and that they will be duly notified of their decision. "I can't make any other comment before Tipperary are notified; we will see where it goes from there," Cooney said.
One of the reasons that the GAA closed off the previous loophole was to protect the primacy of volunteers within the organisation.
They are keen that paid coaches do not usurp volunteers by taking over roles that they traditionally filled, especially within clubs.
It is likely too that with the association fighting a losing battle to stamp out illegal payments to managers, which is especially widespread at club level, they are keen that anyone who is employed by a county or province does not hold another unpaid role which could be confused with it.
There has been speculation that Michael Dempsey might also have to give up his key role as a Kilkenny senior hurling selector because of the recent contract change.
Laois native Dempsey has been employed by Carlow County Board for the last year and a half, but Carlow chairman Pat Deering said yesterday that they have had no queries or communication about Dempsey's role with them and he believes Dempsey will not be affected because he is not a full-time employee of theirs.
"Michael is also a GAA tutor with Carlow IT and is working in conjunction with ourselves, the college and Leinster Council," Deering explained.
"As a games manager, he is directly responsible for co-ordinating our coaches, but there would be weeks we wouldn't seen him at all because of his other responsibilities. His work with us is part-time so I imagine his is a different situation from anyone who has a full-time role."
More and more counties and clubs are employing paid officials, but the GAA seem hell-bent on ensuring that full-time GAA employees cannot have any team involvement at the same time, except with their home clubs.
Tipperary chairman Barry O'Brien said last week: "Like any other individual, when he (Evans) is finished his day's work, he can take on another role and the role he has taken on is manager of the senior football team."
But according to the GAA, Evans' new full-time role with Tipperary GAA precludes him from managing their footballers at the same time.