Kingdom chief dismisses talk of €40k bill for Portugal camp
Published 13/04/2011 | 05:00
Kerry County Board chairman Jerome Conway has dismissed suggestions that the upcoming warm-weather training camp in Portugal for the county's senior footballers will cost €40,000.
The figure has been in the public domain since last week, when criticism of the trip from The Kerryman led to Kerry manager Jack O'Connor requesting his players not to speak to the county's main local newspaper.
But Conway has used the forum of the Kerry County Board meeting this week to defend the trip and point out that the figure for the trip could be less that €20,000.
"It is difficult to give an exact figure, but it certainly will not be anything like the figure that has been touted," said Conway.
"It will be well shy of €40,000. In fact, I can say truthfully that the cost of the trip will be just 0.5 of 1pc of the board's total expenditure last year, which was around €3m, so we are well aware of our duty to our country and 99pc of our expenditure is at home.
"There is the cost for Portugal itself and there is also a figure for the flights. We could not book the flights until we knew we were going and got permission from the delegates, so flights have yet to be booked and prices fluctuate the closer you get to the date."
Conway argued that the trip could actually work out "cost neutral."
"The management of the team are not irresponsible people and they understand the financial constraints on the board. They have, in consultation with us, agreed cost-cutting measures in other areas of preparation, to such an extent that the Portugal aspect of the trip will be cost neutral.
"If we accept that, then the only other expense is to an Irish airline. Now, if we weren't to go to Portugal then that figure would be spent in Ireland, so it's a matter of swapping one Irish company for another. The reason we have to travel is that we are dealing with amateur players.
"The benefits of warm-weather training are that players can train three times a day. In normal circumstances, we train three times a week, so if the players spend four days in warm- weather training, which is now proposed, that is equivalent to four weeks' training."
The Kerryman defended their right to comment on the affairs of the Kerry football team in a strongly-worded article last week.