Wednesday 7 December 2016

Martin Breheny: GAA must resolve taxing ref issue quickly

Published 29/02/2012 | 05:00

THERE'S a widely-held view that those who take up refereeing do so to make reparation for the sins of a past life. If that's the case, GAA and soccer referees must have been serious miscreants first time around, because nothing they might have done in this life could merit the punishment they endure.

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Bolshie players, belligerent managers, blinkered supporters and an unforgiving media combine to put them under enormous pressure and, if that wasn't tough enough, the tax man has his beady eye on their match fees.

Led by Longford, local referees are now threatening mutiny as they reach for the 'strike' button.

That's of no concern to the Revenue, but it's a serious issue for the GAA at a time when most counties concede that it's very difficult to recruit referees.

What to do, then? One possible solution is to raise the mileage allowance to rates allowed by the Revenue. That would increase the costs on county boards, but might go some way to appeasing referees.

Other initiatives such as giving free tickets to club referees for inter-county championship games might also help the cause.

It's a new problem for the GAA and the only certainty is that it must be sorted out -- quickly.

Irish Independent

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