Friday 19 January 2018

Kildare to clear debts with unique Croker loan

Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney.
Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney.
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The GAA and Kildare are preparing to finalise another unique loan facility to help alleviate the county board's ongoing financial troubles.

Following on from the €300,000 'advance' last April, a new tranche of money, thought to be between €300,000 and €400,000, is to be forwarded to the board to help clear off historical debts that have built up and allow them to begin 2013 with a clean slate.

In exchange for the facility, the finer details of which have yet to be thrashed out between the county, Leinster Council and Croke Park -- who met last week -- they will be subjected to the strictest possible financial controls which will be overseen by both provincial and Central Councils.

Former Munster Council secretary Simon Moroney has been working with the county on finances since the April advance but input will now come directly from Croke Park and Leinster Council's finance department. It is understood that the new agreement will be arranged as a term loan.

Different

This is different from the previous facility agreed in April, where Kildare got in excess of €300,000 in advance money that would have been payable to them anyway at the end of the year through commercial and competition revenues, team expenses and games development and administration grants. Most of that money would have been transferred by now.

At the time Kildare were adamant that such a facility was not tantamount to a bailout, but it was a unique arrangement between Croke Park and a county board.

A term loan to clear off debts that have accrued from day-to-day running of a board is thought to be unprecedented.

Kildare have railed against the focus on their finances when so many other counties are dealing with heavy debts but GAA sources are adamant that their case is different because it involves debts built up from day-to-day spending.

In an interview last weekend the county's commercial director Marty McEvoy, who is also their Central Council delegate, painted an upbeat picture and said they were "fighting back" but acknowledged that 2012 had been tough.

Kildare have got their spending under control but McEvoy acknowledged the need to generate much greater revenue in 2013 and pointed to a figure of €190,000 which is projected to be generated by the end of the year.

Kildare's deficit has built up gradually over the last number of years to in excess of €700,000.

On the year-end balance sheet, team expenses were among the biggest costs and even though these have fallen dramatically over the last two years they amounted to €525,000 this year.

Prior to confirmation of Kieran McGeeney's continuation as Lilywhites manager for a sixth season, chairman John McMahon revealed that the board only had to pay €270,109 towards the running of the senior team.

The county are also seeking new sponsorship after Tegral ended a 20-year association but given their profile as a Division 1 team who have reached five successive All-Ireland quarter-finals, they remain a strong commercial entity.

They are also determined to play all four home league matches in St Conleth's Park despite the restriction on capacity, with attractive ties against Donegal, Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone.

The GAA's health and safety committee will play a key role in deciding if the Newbridge venue, where Kildare hope to increase capacity to 8,000, can host those ties.

Irish Independent

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