Saturday 25 March 2017

Quirke claims players should be paid if GAA adopts plan for bosses

Kieran McCarthy

FORMER Kerry footballer Micheal Quirke has warned the GAA against paying managers, insisting that it will lead to major problems for the Association.

Tralee star Quirke, who stepped down from the Kingdom panel last season, believes that if the GAA goes down the road of legitimising payments to county managers, then it could lead to players' unrest.

"There are no trade secrets being broken here. Everybody knows that managers receive something," the former All-Ireland winner said.

"It's the biggest joke of all if people think that the managers of teams are just doing it for the love of the game and are not getting any money out of it -- which I don't have any serious issue with.

"The level of effort and hard work that goes into managing any inter-county team is obviously huge and there should be some sort of reimbursement.

"The major issue I have is that they are talking about county boards trying to track down the money that the managers are getting, but look at this from the players' perspective -- are the players going to get any type of financial reimbursement?

"I just think it's hugely dangerous and completely fraught with danger."

Quirke points out that it's the players who are central to the success of the GAA, and paying managers is certain to irk them.

"If the GAA goes down the line of saying 'yes, we will pay managers' then it will be hugely complicated. Players certainly wouldn't be totally happy with that situation.

"It's players that put bums on seats on All-Ireland final days, it's the players that fans go to watch, not the manager," Quirke said.

"It will open a can of worms. If you start paying the manager then you better start finding money to start paying the players.

"Speaking from a Kerry point of view, there is a great camaraderie in the camp always, and there is always a sense that every fella is in it for the same reason -- to get Kerry football to the top.

"If you throw into the mix that one guy is professionally being paid to do it, it will throw the whole thing out of kilter."

Quirke has also queried how paying managers would affect the rest of the management team.

"I remember when myself and Kieran Donaghy were coming back from injury, Alan O'Sullivan (Kerry's physical trainer) used to be down in the Brandon in Tralee with us at 7.0 in the morning and he would be back down in the evening with other guys.

"Is the physical trainer expected to do that for free while the manager gets all the financial rewards?"

Irish Independent

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