Sunday 25 September 2016

Confirmed: GAA and GPA strike deal on €6m annual partnership

Published 25/07/2016 | 02:30

The new agreement, will be announced at a joint-press conference in Croke Park later today. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
The new agreement, will be announced at a joint-press conference in Croke Park later today. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

The GAA and Gaelic Players Association have confirmed a new deal worth €6.2m per year which will include a number of significant increases in benefits for inter-county players, as exclusively revealed in today's Irish Independent.

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The new agreement, which replaces a temporary arrangement that has been in place this year after the previous five-year agreement lapsed last year, will be announced at a joint-press conference in Croke Park later today.

The figure will bring the contribution to the player welfare and expenses well in excess of 10pc of the GAA's overall revenues which were down €500,000 to €55.7m in 2015.

It is believed that, for the first time, the players' body will receive a percentage of commercial revenues in the region of 15pc which will be built into the estimated €6.2m figure.

Commercial revenues include media and sponsorship money but will not include the GAA's biggest earner, gate receipts.

The mileage allowance for inter-county players will also increase substantially, jumping from 50 cent per mile to 65 cent.

A new 'nutrition allowance' will also be paid under the terms of the new agreement to cover special dietary needs.

The 50 cent per mile has been in place since 2001 when former Armagh footballer Jarlath Burns headed a players committee established by the GAA that was responsive to the growth of the GPA at the time.

Up to now the 50 cent allowance has been paid by county boards out of their own funds but the additional money, which will cost in the region of €1.2m based on last year's travel expense figures presented in county board accounts, will be fully subsidised from central funds. The payment of mileage allowances has been a vexed issue for the inter-county players for many years and this is also to be addressed.

Many county boards have done separate deals with their players relating to travel as the cost has risen with the increase in training sessions over the last decade.

The initial deal between the GAA and the GPA, forged in early 2011, was worth an estimated €8.5m but that increased as time went on.

Despite apparent differences on championship reform - the GPA motion wasn't approved for Congress by Central Council - the GAA and GPA have successfully brought months of negotiations to a close.

The scale of the new deal is sure to draw criticism from those who have disapproved of the GPA's place within the association since it was formalised.

The new deal hopes to forge stronger links with the players' body being afforded the opportunity to bring one motion to GAA Congress from next year on.

Speaking about the new framework agreement, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail said: “Our inter-county players make a special contribution to the Association in so many ways.

“The increased commitment involved in playing our games at inter-county level has been commonly acknowledged for some time."

“We are serious about the welfare of our players and will continue to work with the GPA to safeguard that welfare.”

GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell added: “Today’s announcement is another historic milestone for players, the GPA and the GAA. This agreement, emphasises the crucial role played by county players in our games and indeed acknowledges their dedication and commitment in performing at the highest level. It ensures the financial impact on players is reduced while placing the support structures within the GPA for players on a very firm footing. This three-year agreement now establishes a long-term commitment to link player welfare and development with the GAA’s commercial success which is highly significant.”

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Irish Independent

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