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€8m - Lucrative five-year deal on table to make GPA integral part of GAA


GAA president Christy Cooney and GPA chief Dessie Farrell will be hoping to tie up loose ends of deal.

GAA president Christy Cooney and GPA chief Dessie Farrell will be hoping to tie up loose ends of deal.

GAA president Christy Cooney and GPA chief Dessie Farrell will be hoping to tie up loose ends of deal.

The GAA will seek to cement an €8m-plus, five-year deal with the Gaelic Players Association at its first Central Council meeting of the year on Saturday.

The deal, which has been thrashed out over the last few months in a series of meetings, will solidify the new relationship between the Association and what is now its official players' representative arm.

At the end of 2009, an interim agreement was put in place to tide the players' body over and they worked off the fundamentals of that agreement for the last 12 months.

But now the GAA is ready to commit long term to the players' association, which will be 12 years in existence next September, by securing its medium-term future with what is expected to be an improved financial deal.


For the last 12 months, the GPA rolled out welfare services that ranged from career advice to business start-ups and personal counselling to upskilling.

It reported that some 560 inter-county players had availed of the services on offer, with 327 taking up scholarships.

The funding through the interim agreement was €1.1m for the running of the services and €250,000 for the administration of the organisation, which is staffed by six people.

But it is expected that Central Council will be asked to approve an increase in the funding now that permanent agreement has been reached which will bring the GAA contribution to in excess of €8m.

The GPA estimate that it took €2.2m to run the players' body and roll out the services in 2010 and officials suggested that this figure could double in the coming years.

Central Council delegates will be given a briefing on what work the GPA has committed to under the terms of the interim agreement.

The new agreement will see the GPA, out in the cold for so much of the last decade, become even more of an integral part of the administrative side of the GAA.

Just over 18 months ago relations between the Association and the players' body dipped when the GPA asked members to withdraw co-operation with host broadcasters over the course of a weekend in July.

It was a move designed to hasten progress on the issue of recognition.

But since interim agreement was signed, the GPA has ditched any cloak of militancy and has dropped any desire to seek a professional or semi-professional game.

Meanwhile, it is thought that any discussion on the paper produced by director general Paraic Duffy on the role of managers within the GAA, and the suggestion of illegal payment to some of them, may not now be discussed at Saturday's meeting.

Duffy raised the issue in his report to annual Congess last March and took it upon himself to examine the situation.

The lengthy report, which involved consultation across a wide cross-section of the GAA, has been with members of the GAA's management since before Christmas.

Elsewhere, Wexford club Faythe Harriers and Cavan County Board are likely to find out what punishment, if any, will be meted out to them for alleged breaches of rules in recent months.

Faythe Harriers have been asked to account for the use of their all-weather facility amid claims that they had hired it out to a local soccer club. That contravenes the GAA's rule on the use of grounds.

Cavan have written back to Croke Park giving their version of events on a training session that took place on the evening of the Ulster club final on the 3G pitch in Kingspan Breffni Park. They deny that there were any players from the 2010 championship squad taking part that evening.

Irish Independent