Wednesday 17 January 2018

Coln O'Rourke: Clubs need a Roosevelt to help beat great debt burden

The GAA should attempt to write off some of the loans that are crippling clubs, says Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

T his week there has been some comment on the steps being taken by the Thomas Davis club in Tallaght to tackle a serious debt problem. It is only the tip of the iceberg. There are stories like this in every county, and there are county boards who are in major financial difficulty as well. Much of this money was borrowed in the middle of the last decade when Ireland was a different place to what it is now.

What has happened since is that the debt burden has become crushing, revenues to all clubs and counties have fallen, at best a little, but more generally a lot so furnishing repayments to banks has become an intolerable strain on bodies whose purpose is to supply games, not act as financial gurus.

If the law of the jungle prevailed in these situations, the trustees of the various clubs could be held responsible or the property could be seized and the asset used to generate the loan could be sold off. It would make for an interesting auction somewhere in the country if the banks seized the local pitch and put it up to the highest bidder.

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