Monday 19 March 2018

Donnchadh Boyle: GAA may take from rich to give to the poor

President eager to spread wealth in wake of Dublin's bumper sponsor deal

Gavin O'Mahony at Croke Park yesterday where details of the GAA’s National Games Development Conference were announced
Gavin O'Mahony at Croke Park yesterday where details of the GAA’s National Games Development Conference were announced
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

THE GAA may look at how it finances counties in the aftermath of Dublin's massive sponsorship deal.

The Dubs' agreement with AIG is thought to be worth more than twice as much as their nearest rivals.

Chill Insurance's arrangement with Cork is believed to be worth over €300,000 per annum, while the Dubs are set to rake in an estimated €700,000.

The scale of the deal sparked concerns as to how smaller counties could compete, as financial clout becomes an ever more significant factor in the preparation of teams.

While GAA president Liam O'Neill welcomed the Association's ability to attract deals with major international companies, he agreed Croke Park officials may look into how it dishes out monies to its various units.

"It's good news that Gaelic games are attracting a sponsor of the calibre of AIG. So, let's say that's good. Now, what we have to do is just calmly look at it and see what it implies for us," said O'Neill.

"It may well change our thinking on how we finance counties across the board, you know, to equalise things.

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

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


"What difficulties it poses, we'll have to overcome in time, but let's just see where this goes first."

As is stands, money is paid out after a number of factors – including on-field performances and attendances – are considered.

And while it seems unlikely that counties will be asked to pool the monies they earn from individual sponsorship deals, Croke Park will look at trying to resource all counties to ensure they can be as competitive as possible.

"A question was asked at the last Central Council meeting and I suggested that we should have a look at how we finance counties, just a look so that people would know, transparently, what money is going where and then we could see if that's the best way of doing it.

"We already distribute quite a bit of money back through games development.

"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 that 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."

O'Neill also reiterated his backing for the proposed Friday night matches that are expected to be back on the calendar when the leagues resume next year.

Laois and Carlow played a football qualifier match on a Friday evening earlier this year and the Laois man is happy for the experiment to continue.

"I said from the time I came into this that I would prefer to fail by trying things rather than fail by not trying. This is worth trying and how are we ever going to find out if we don't do it."

Irish Independent

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