Inter-county costs need to be curtailed - GAA president
GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail has acknowledged that team costs are running far too high in some counties and urged restraint at a time when spending trends are threatening to spiral out of control.
Inter-county expenditure increased in 19 of the 32 counties last year, taking overall expenditure to a record €21.9 million.
It averaged €684,375 per county, ranging from Dublin on €1.56 million to Wicklow on €277,000.
Six counties spent €1 million or more while 11 exceeded the €700,000 mark.
"There's no doubt that too much is being spent, not in all counties but in some. Apart from the obvious dangers involved in over-spending, we have to remember that the GAA is based on an amateur ethos. As far as is possible, that amateur ethos has to be upheld," said Ó Fearghail.
In particular, he has reservations about payments to backroom personnel in an era when the supporting casts for managers are increasing at an unprecedented rate.
It's quite common for specialist personnel to be paid but questions are being raised about the numbers involved.
"Why should everyone that brings a skill to a backroom be paid? There are a lot of volunteers with an equally good skill-set. For example, many of the medical people involved with teams work for free because they are GAA through-and-though and want to do what they can.
"There are other areas where that doesn't seem to apply as much and that's where county boards have to be very careful. They are closest to the scene to make the call, " said Ó Fearghail.
He said that while Croke Park could provide expert advice on cost controls, county boards were responsible for running their own affairs.
"They know what finance is coming in and what's going out. And if costs are going up, they need to examine why.
"If they don't, the problem will grow. A lot of counties are very good at running their affairs but clearly some are over-spending," said Ó Fearghail.