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GAA set to seek further State aid as €50m loss looms large


GAA president John Horan. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

GAA president John Horan. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

GAA president John Horan. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

GAA president John Horan has confirmed that the Association intends seeking further financial assistance from the Government in the wake of a potential loss of €50m across all units as the Covid-19 emergency plays havoc with regular funding lines.

Horan estimated on 'The Sunday Game' on Sunday night that between Central Council, Croke Park stadium, provincial councils and county boards, a €50m loss is on the cards if no games are played this year because of the restrictions in place.

Horan has also suggested that the closure of GAA grounds until July 20 at the earliest, announced in last week's statement, may now be relaxed prior to that date to allow over 70s to use facilities and walkways for exercise during designated hours and some underage activity, even if it's without a ball initially.

The GAA's Covid-19 advisory committee met for the first time on Monday night to begin discussing guidelines for how a return might be managed.

The position taken on games resuming while social distancing remains in place has been welcomed but the closure of facilities for a further 10 weeks has brought some opposition, most notably from Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald last week and now All-Ireland-winning Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy.

In the meantime, Horan has outlined the probable need for the Association to seek additional financial assistance on top of what it receives yearly, €6.1m - €3m for the inter-county player grant scheme, a further €2.6m for participation and €470,000 from the Department of Foreign Affairs for overseas projects.

"We have weekly meetings with the Department, as do other sporting organisations and I'd imagine we will have to have that conversation at some stage.

"We'd hope it would be looked on favourably as we are going to need it in light of our situation," said Horan (pictured).

The loss of gate receipts, broadcast revenue and perhaps even some sponsorship revenue, allied to the absence of a dividend from the Croke Park stadium company, will leave the GAA in what Horan has already described as a "serious situation, very worrying."

The GAA does not build up reserves from year-to-year with a policy of putting everything back into the Association through coach and games development, infrastructure and supporting the preparation of teams and that could leave them in a perilous position by the end of the year.

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Nor does it have an international organisation to fall back on as the other main sports organisations in the country, the FAI and IRFU, have.

Last week the Government unveiled a package worth €40m to charities to help offset the loss of their revenue streams and there is optimism that sporting organisations can also now benefit.

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