Sunday 19 November 2017

GAA President Liam O'Neill "shocked" by "aggressive" RTE questioning on Sky deal

GAA president Liam O'Neill
GAA president Liam O'Neill

GAA President Liam O'Neill has heavily criticised RTE for the way they handled the news that Sky would be broadcasting 14 Championship games exclusively this year.

Sky Sports will provide exclusive live coverage of 20 championship matches in Britain and Channel 7 will show all 45 live championship games free to air in Australia in a move which the GAA says fulfills a promise to air major games to Irish people living abroad.

O'Neill says that he felt that coverage of the rights announcement was unbalanced and was heavily critical of RTE in particular.

"An awful lot of the reaction was misinformed because they reacted before the news story," the GAA President told

"That was a bit unprofessional of some people doing that.

"Then, when they got the information, they zoned in on one particular part of the deal. And quite frankly, in relation to last night, we are shocked by the treatment we got from RTÉ. Every single one of the interviews was aggressive.

"RTÉ are our partners. They have got 31 of our games. They have radio, we give them access beyond what would be given to broadcasters in other sports and in other countries. We didn't expect them to be in our favour - we weren't looking for that. We were looking for balance and I don't think we got balance last night."

O'Neill urged GAA fans to look at the deal in its entirety.

"The easiest thing to do, if Páraic and I wanted to get through these negotiations, all we had to do was say no, to do what we had always done," he added.

"But we said we would step out beyond that, and I've admitted last night on RTÉ that when you make a decision like this, of course you are nervous.

"Of course you are concerned that it might not turn out as you want it. But the fact of the matter is we have done it now. We've taken that leap of faith and my message to the followers on the ground would be to sit back and enjoy the games you want to go to and sit back and enjoy the coverage and let's judge all of this at the end of the day."

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