Saturday 16 December 2017

Duffy holds firm over Sky deal


GAA director-general Páraic Duffy
GAA director-general Páraic Duffy
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

GAA director-general Páraic Duffy insists his views on the broadcast partnership with Sky Sports haven't changed since his report to the 2015 Congress when he outlined the need for the association to keep its options open on the issue.

Speaking at the launch of the All-Ireland hurling championships in Glynn-Barntown club in Wexford, Duffy also pointed to the overwhelming vote against restricting the TV rights to free-to-air television only at Congress in 2016.

He was responding to questions about the comments of RTé hurling analyst Michael Duignan describing the broadcasting of the Waterford/Kilkenny hurling qualifier on pay-per-view TV as a "disgrace" because so many didn't get to see it.

In 2015, Duffy pointed out that "any restriction that prohibits the GAA from engaging with all interested parties, including subscription TV providers, would seriously reduce our negotiating power and thus our ability to achieve the true worth of our assets, and would inevitably lead to a greatly reduced media-rights income."

Duffy did not reveal if there was contact with RTé over Duignan's comments and said he would leave it to journalists to discuss the irony of an RTé analyst making such comments on the station's flagship GAA programme.

"We have an ongoing debate with RTé on a range of issues from time to time. We'll just leave it at that," he stated.

Duffy spent Monday in Cork, helping local officials finalise arrangements for the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals which will be staged there on the weekend after next.

He acknowledged that there could be traffic issues for supporters, especially those travelling from the South-East for the match on Sunday between Wexford and Waterford.

"I understand that and absolutely appreciate that concern. We did discuss that. Geographically, it is not ideal and there will be traffic issues that will have to be addressed as well as possible. But because we are opening a brand new stadium, a great facility, the feeling was that we would go for the two games over the weekend.

"Given the occasion that it is, and it is not too often that we have an opening of a stadium of this quality, I think that people will understand that as an once-off, that is fine."

Score-detection technology will also be in place but it won't entail high-speed Hawk-Eye cameras.

Duffy said it was not beyond the bounds of possibility that Hawk-Eye technology could reach into other stadia in the future. "The thing about Hawk-Eye is that they are constantly evolving too. It may become a mobile technology, in a sense you can move it," Duffy said.

"I wouldn't make a commitment, you would like to see it everywhere but obviously there is a cost factor."



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Irish Independent

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