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HQ to look at finances

HQ to look at finances after Dubs' AIG deal

DUBLIN GAA's sponsorship deal may compel Croke Park to examine how it finances some of the lesser counties whose money-making potential is dwarfed by the high-profile Dubs.

However, GAA president Liam O'Neill maintained that Dublin should not be hit in the pocket as a result of their five-year tie-up with insurance giants AIG – reportedly worth somewhere between €3.5m and €4m.

The problem for central coffers is finding a way to "equalise" funding for those counties who can't attract major sponsors without punishing those who can. And O'Neill admitted this was a difficult circle to square.

"There was never any talk about pooling, or talk of needing to pool, until Dublin got this sponsorship deal," he pointed out, speaking at the launch of the 2014 Liberty Games Development Conference, to be staged in Croke Park next January 11-12.

"So we now have a situation where Dublin have this deal which is ahead of the rest, okay. This is for hurling, football, camogie, ladies football, rounders, the whole shebang. That's a much bigger thing. They are high profile.

"It's good news Gaelic games are attracting a sponsor of the calibre of AIG," he added. "Now, what we have to do is calmly look at it and see what that implies for us. It may well change our thinking on how we finance counties, across the board now to equalise things.

"You'll never have an equal world because life isn't just equal, that's it ... but I would prefer to face the challenge of having to equalise things because we're getting more money than getting less.


"We are in recession and we're here now discussing a county getting more money than some people thought they would, and as far as I'm concerned that's good news for us."

Croke Park already redirects finance, such as from TV rights and National League gate receipts, in various ways. O'Neill suggested they may look at ways of raising income streams so that "we're in a position to better equalise things."

But when asked if this meant Dublin getting less money, he countered: "No, no, I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that some counties at the moment are getting less than others and we have to look at whether that's right or not."

He added: "Our spend on games development is around €10m, the provinces do it as well, so there's a good bit of money, a good bit of equalisation going on in that way.

"But you couldn't possibly say you'd ever spend the same sort of money in a county with 24 clubs as you would in a county with 100. That's just not the way it works. You can't punish a child for being in a county that either has a big population or gets more money, so we have to be mindful of that too."