Sunday 18 August 2019

GAA insists members' data is safe despite IT firm's financial trouble

All GAA fixture data is handled by Servasport. Stock photo: Sportsfile
All GAA fixture data is handled by Servasport. Stock photo: Sportsfile
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

The GAA has tried to reassure members their data is safe after the company responsible for managing its information on memberships, fixtures and competitions was placed into administration.

Servasport Limited has been responsible for maintaining the GAA's management system for the past decade.

The Northern Ireland-based company was placed into administration last month, with insolvency practitioners James Neill and Rachel Foster of HNH Group put in charge of managing the company's affairs, business and property assets.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, a GAA spokesman confirmed the organisation was aware of "certain challenges" Servasport had been dealing with for a number of months.

He said the GAA still had access to the Servasport software and all data linked to its 500,000 members was safe.

"All of that is our data. That would have been protected under our contract anyway," he said.

"The company has got into trouble but we have access to that software and by the turn of the year we will have a new system in place. We have been working on it for some time."

The GAA's own IT department at Croke Park has been working on the issue for a number of months, he added, in order to minimise any disruption to clubs and competitions.

GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

While a new system is set to be put in place by the end of this year, it has not yet been determined whether this will be handled internally or whether an external company will be asked to fill the role previously held by Servasport.

"We were working with them to see if we could assist the company in any way but that wasn't possible," said the GAA spokesman.

"We knew there were challenges," he added.

"All of the [clubs'] results and their fixtures go through Servasport for the vast majority of counties so it is obviously something we have to get right. So we have been working behind the scenes on it and there will be no disruption to it."

The company signed a contract with the GAA in 2009 to manage the worldwide GAA database.

This included adding and registering members, managing data linked to competitions, fixture generation, match official management, venues and membership fees. It also facilitated club communications, the GAA's player injury benefit fund, club administration and the player transfer system.

In 2010, Servasport issued an apology after the database was compromised, with information from it sent to the Gaelic Players' Association, the Data Protection Commissioner and the Information Commissioner.

This led to the arrest of a man in the North, but the Data Protection Commissioner later said it was unlikely GAA members' data was being put to malicious use.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In All-Ireland Hurling Final preview: Can Tipp's firepower edge clash with the Cats?

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport