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Austin: Pay for play is wrong


Austin Gleeson

Austin Gleeson

Austin Gleeson

Austin Gleeson has launched an impassioned defence of amateurism in hurling and football, claiming it would "take away from the love of the game if you end up getting paid."

The 2016 Hurler of the Year was speaking in the wake of last week's leak of a GAA report recommending the payment of an allowance to inter-county players and managers, while abolishing the current expenses system.

The report - entitled Towards 2034 - The 150th Anniversary of the GAA - was very much aimed at generating debate about the association's future direction.

But Gleeson, for one, won't be canvassing for any hint of a move towards pay-for-play.

"I don't think at all it should happen," the Waterford player declared. "The reason everyone loves hurling is it's amateurs playing an amateur sport. Everyone waking up Monday morning, going into work after playing 70 minutes of a championship game the day before.

"It's something that I don't think should happen. It would take away from the love of the game," he reiterated.

"If you're getting paid, you could go training and wander around because 'It doesn't matter, I'm getting paid anyway.'

"Every team get their expenses. There are (Waterford) lads up in Dublin who get their expenses and everything is put in place, food-wise, after training," Gleeson expanded.

"They get their championship gear, you get free physio if you need it. There are doctors there if you need doctors, so there are always little allowances there for you.

"Look at the way soccer has gone - there are players sitting on benches now just because the money is there. They don't really care if they play or not.

"I think that's the way GAA could go if it goes that way.

"And I just think it will take away from the love of the game if you end up getting paid."