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Duffy wants to tackle manager payments

THE prickly issues of payments to managers and game-based suspensions jump from the pages of Páraic Duffy's annual report, unveiled yesterday in Croke Park and explained by the GAA's Director General ahead of its presentation to Congress on the weekend of April 16/17.

Duffy admitted that there was no question that payments to managers both at club and county level were rife and stressed that the "least acceptable option is to continue to proclaim a value and, at the same time, ignore it".

But while pledging to act on the matter, Duffy also recognised the difficulty of the task of identifying and subsequently eradicating the practice which is in breach of Rule 1.10 of the official guide.

Instead, he stated his intention to establish "a committee to examine the situation with a view to bringing forward proposals in late 2010 that will allow a debate ... on the best way to deal with this difficult problem."


Duffy said he accepted that the job of intercounty manager was an increasingly pressurised one, and added that "time demands on managers are huge. I think we need to look at it in a calm way and understand it. There is huge pressures at that level."

On the subject of suspensions, Duffy outlined the anomalies of the time-based bans, pointing to the example of two players banned for 16 weeks last year, one of whom missed no games while the other was forced to sit out five. There is a motion from the Grattan Óg club in Longford in relation to the matter, but as it is not completely comprehensive, it is unlikely to be passed but both Duffy and Christy Cooney stressed that a Congress debate on the issue would reveal where the GAA would go next.

Duffy also stressed the urgency needed to abolish the practice of pitch invasions in all grounds around the country on the basis of health and safety risks.

Feargal McGill -- the GAA's Operations Manager -- went through the record 123 motions. The main ones are:

p Motion 1 (Árd Comhairle): Limiting intercounty panels to 26 players.

p Motions 9 to 35 (Árd Comhairle): Experimental playing rules which are currently being used in the National Leagues -- playing rules can only be changed every five years.

p Motion 40 (Clonard, Wexford): The introduction of a 'Hooter' system for timekeeping in senior intercounty matches.

p Motion 51 (Árd Comhairle): Official recognition of the GPA.

p Motion 53 (Árd Comhairle): Promotion and relegation in hurling in all tiers of the hurling championship will be done on an optional basis for the relevant team.

p Motion 54: & 55 (Tyrone and Joseph's/O'Connell Boys and St Olaf's): To add a round to the senior football championship whereby provincial champions get a second chance if they lose their All-Ireland quarter-final.

p Motion 70 (Árd Comhairle): To delete the second chance for beaten provincial finalists in the All-Ireland MFC starting in 2011.

p Motion 86 (Dunshaughlin, Meath: To grant Central Council the power to open Croke Park to other sports if and when they see fit.

p Motion 99 (Grattan Óg, Longford): The replacement of time bans with game specific suspensions.