Friday 20 April 2018

Dublin vow to resist any move by Croke Park over sharing capital gains

Andy Kettle
Andy Kettle
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Dublin County Board chairman Andy Kettle has sent out a clear message that they won't stand for any move to share their lucrative commercial revenues with cash-strapped counties.

In what will be seen as a thinly veiled retort to GAA president Liam O'Neill, Kettle made it clear that monies secured by Dublin all go back into spreading the GAA gospel across the city.

There have been rumblings about the extensive revenues that Dublin have been able to command on the back of the continued success of their flagship teams and the distinctive edge it gives them.

But as Dublin and insurance giant AIG yesterday launched their €4m five-year sponsorship deal – meaning a new jersey for the county for the second successive year – Kettle was adamant that Dublin GAA needs every cent it can get to support its extensive games programme.

O'Neill, in welcoming the AIG/Dublin deal last month, said the distribution of revenues from gate receipts was something they may look at in the future. He stressed, however, that individual county sponsorship could not be affected.

Kettle believes any attempt to bring an equalisation strategy to GAA revenues would be "robbing Peter to pay Paul" in Dublin's case.

"In our strategic plan, the Blue Wave, we have suggested and we are looking for and working towards Dublin being recognised as a province from a financial point of view.

"Dublin is a big area, it has a huge playing population and it takes a lot of money to run the organisation in Dublin. It would certainly be a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul."

Kettle disputes the perception that the commercial advantages that Dublin continue to enjoy are unfair.

"It's not an unfair advantage. The basic ethos of the organisation is to get young people playing our games. Regardless of what county you are in, only a small percentage of people come through at inter-county level.

"The big drive has to be at club level. We have 92 clubs and about 70pc of those are dual clubs. We have something like 12,000 juvenile games, a little over 4,500 adult games. It takes a lot of work, a lot of organisation. We want to expand that.

"There are some black spots in Dublin, not so much in county Dublin but certainly in city Dublin that GAA needs to make a little bit more inroads into. We are not by any manner of means at the maximum of our potential involvement."

Kettle insisted that if Dublin "do things right" they can aspire to winning three out of the next 10 All-Ireland titles.

He also revealed an exchange programme for old Dublin jerseys is being looked at as Dublin prepare a different-style shirt – with a return to a stronger blue – for the third successive year.

"Hopefully, we will look at something in the new year where there is a sort of semi-amnesty for want of a better word, whereby you can exchange your old jersey for new," he said.

"I would see that with possibly tying up with a world charity or something like that. The old jerseys could go to a needy cause somewhere. It's something that we're looking at. It all depends on costings. It depends on retailers, so there are a couple of things.

"If we had of known that Vodafone were just going to go for a fourth year, we certainly wouldn't have changed jersey last year."

Irish Independent

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