Friday 18 October 2019

No bailout for struggling GAA clubs

STRUGGLING county boards will not be bailed out by the GAA, according to a top official who yesterday warned them to "get a grip" on finances.

A number of counties have reported big losses in their recently published annual reports as the difficult economic conditions take their toll.

Leinster Council chairman Martin Skelly has said that the province will advise any county in trouble, but neither they nor Croke Park will be in a position to help financially.

"We've financial expertise, we have committees that can help, but ultimately it is down to each county to put their books in order," he said.

"That is their responsibility. At the start of every year, it is imperative in the current economic climate that they sit down and take account of what's there.

"The income generated by sponsorship, gate receipts and fundraising that has been generated in the past, in the Celtic Tiger, is no longer there. Counties have to get a grip -- they have to face up to that fact."

Leinster counties Kildare, Westmeath and Wexford have all recorded large deficits in 2011, but rather than look to Croke Park for financial help, Skelly is adamant that the onus is on any club or county in the association to cut their own cloth -- even if it means unpopular decisions have to be made.

"The important thing is that it is the responsibility of every club, every unit of our association, to make ends meet," he declared.

"They cannot spend more than what comes in and if there are hard decisions to be made, then I would expect that the people who are elected will step up to the mark and make those decisions, difficult as they may be.

"To the general public they may not be the most popular decisions that have been made, but it is the responsibility of every unit to account and balance their books because neither Croke Park nor the Leinster Council will be in a position to bail them out.

"They are only letting themselves down and letting the association down if they do not balance the books."

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