Sport Gaelic Football

Thursday 28 August 2014

Gavin: I would walk away if our games went pay-for-play – it's a bridge we cannot cross

Liam Kelly

Published 12/04/2014 | 02:30

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11 April 2014; Dublin manager Jim Gavin, speaking during a press conference ahead of their side's Allianz Football League Division 1 Semi-Final match against Cork on Sunday. Dublin Senior Football Team Press Conference, Gibson Hotel, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Dublin manager Jim Gavin

DUBLIN boss Jim Gavin would walk away if pay-for-play demands were made by GAA players.

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Gavin, speaking ahead of tomorrow's Allianz Football League semi-final against Cork, gave a guarded welcome to the Sky television deal, but would draw a line in the sand if the deal with subscription channels led to a call for professionalism.

A GAA traditionalist and proud of it, the Round Towers club man would not countenance payment for players or managers.

"I'd be loath to see us going away from our amateur ethos. I think we'd all walk away if that happened, to be blunt about it.

"I know the players do it for the right reason. They have a passion for Gaelic games. Players just want small, fringe benefits.

"It's a duty of care that county boards have to their players to ensure that they're looked after in a small way.

"The bridge we can't cross is pay-for-play. That's just not on. We're all volunteers, and the rules clearly state that.

"But anything county boards or commercial partners can do for players' needs to be welcomed."

When it was put to him that a Dublin v Kerry All-Ireland quarter-final could potentially be screened live only on Sky, Gavin replied: "Yes, that's a big challenge and I have mixed emotions on that. But I think for the broader promotion of the games on the island, we have a challenge within the Association to promote our games to the younger people and there's no doubt a station that focuses purely on sport can package the game very well."

Gavin says Dublin are in "bonus territory" after reaching the play-offs.

"We're satisfied with our progress. We take it that we're in bonus territory, we don't have anything to lose," he says.

"To face Cork again is a great challenge. I was very impressed with them in Croke Park the last day and very impressed to see them against Kerry.

"They're a serious, serious team that will really push hard in the All-Ireland series, so it's a fantastic test for Dublin at this time of the year."

Bernard Brogan was named in the side against Tyrone, but did not start (as a precaution) – Gavin expects him to get some game time against Cork.

Paul Flynn is still awaiting the all clear after his concussion, and Stephen Cluxton is available again following a one-match ban.

Dublin players have been given red and yellow cards in the league, but they have yet to incur a black card – the introduction of which Gavin feels has benefited football.

"The rule suits the game. We've seen the benefit of the black card and how expansive it has become," he says.

"I think it suits all teams. Most counties have natural technical forwards and now they're being given the space to promote their skills. It's great to see."

Irish Independent

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