| 11.9°C Dublin

Dublin faces cuts as GAA plans big financial revamp

Close

Dublin's Bernard Brogan, left, and Eoghan O'Gara celebrate with the Sam Maguire cup following their side's All-Ireland victory in 2013, a success that was built on hugely talented footballers supported by a solid financial infrastructure

Dublin's Bernard Brogan, left, and Eoghan O'Gara celebrate with the Sam Maguire cup following their side's All-Ireland victory in 2013, a success that was built on hugely talented footballers supported by a solid financial infrastructure

Dublin's Bernard Brogan, left, and Eoghan O'Gara celebrate with the Sam Maguire cup following their side's All-Ireland victory in 2013, a success that was built on hugely talented footballers supported by a solid financial infrastructure

Dublin faces a cutback in grant aid from central funds as part of a major GAA plan to level the financial playing field across the country.

While no specific figure has been mentioned, there's a clear recommendation from the Association's financial planners to "reduce the funding to Dublin over time in the interests of equalisation."

It comes as part of a wide-ranging review of central funding to counties, undertaken by the GAA's National Financial Management Committee (NFMC) at the behest of director-general Paraic Duffy.

Among the others recommendations are:

1 - Allocation of higher grants to smaller counties.

2 - Abolishing the annual €400,000 hurley and helmet subsidy.

Close

3 - Adjusting the income share-out from the Allianz Leagues and providing an incentive for counties to market their 'home' games.

4 - Formally identifying what constitutes a 'smaller' county for funding purposes.

5 - Reviewing the charge for season tickets and their availability so as to protect league income.

The proposal to cut Dublin's allocation for coaching and games development will prove contentious in the capital but is likely to be welcomed elsewhere.

GAA Newsletter

Exclusives from under the skin of the GAA, from Ireland’s largest and best GAA team; Brolly, Mullane, Hogan and Ó Sé, to name but a few.

This field is required

There has been complaints from some counties in recent times that Dublin's capacity to line up major sponsorship deals gives them a big financial advantage over most of their rivals.

Dublin's success in football and hurling has widened their appeal in the corporate world, further increasing their ability to land big sponsorships at a time when smaller counties, in particular, are finding it difficult to attract substantial backers.

That, in turn, has led to claims that Dublin are flying on a much higher financial orbit than most of the other counties.

Dublin's most recent coaching/games development grant was just over €1.5 million, equating to 25pc of the total budget for all 32 counties. It was more than six times higher than second-placed Cork, who received €224,000.

Dublin's total was just under the entire allocation for the other 11 Leinster counties. However, Dublin are catering for a population of 1.3 million, which is higher than the rest of Leinster combined.

The NFMC's report notes that GAA funding is supplemented by Irish Sports Council grants, based on the numbers participating in various sports.

"Historically, Dublin received a specific grant from the Irish Sports Council. This is no longer the situation but the coaches are in place and continue to be funded. Coaches are employed, based on the need as identified by the provincial council in conjunction with the National Coaching & Games Committee.

"In the interests of equalisation and of achieving a better funding distribution balance, it is proposed to reduce the funding allocation to Dublin over time.

"This can only be done on a phased basis and, at the same time, the participation numbers need to be factored in, as we cannot withdraw funding from areas that may impact on Irish Sports Council funding," states the report.

Dublin will be deeply unhappy at any proposal that involves less funding at a time when the city continues to expand, thus adding to the challenges facing existing GAA clubs, some of whom haven't got the facilities to deal with soaring numbers. Setting up new clubs is not a feasible option in many areas either, since there's no available land for pitches.

Besides, establishing a new club is a costly operation.

Deciding on what constitutes a 'smaller county' for funding purposes presented a challenge but the NMFC have decided on a number of criteria.

The first requirement is for a population of less than 100,000, with due recognition given to Ulster counties where, the NMFC notes, "the full population will not be supporting Gaelic Games."

However, Division 1 and 2 counties will not be considered for extra-grant aid.

Reserves

The same will apply to counties with solid financial reserves. Counties with fewer than 35 clubs would classify as weaker counties, although quite where that leaves Roscommon is a moot point. They have 32 clubs but will be in Division 2 of the National Football League next year.

The €400,000 per annum hurley and helmet subsidy is no longer seen as necessary; instead the money will be allocated to smaller counties.

The last pay-out under this scheme ranged from €36,000 for Cork to €6,000 each for Cavan, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Longford, Monaghan and Tyrone.

Other payments included sums of between €30,400 and €20,800 going to Dublin, Kilkenny, Galway, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.

Distribution of National League money will continue in much the same format as heretofore but a basic minimum return will apply for each county. It's also proposed to provide a marketing budget to counties to promote their 'home' games.

That has been a contentious issue for many years, with counties arguing that they should be supported in their marketing of League games and allowed to retain a higher percentage of the gate money.

In order to improve cash flows to county boards, the distribution of an annual €175,000 grant will be paid on a staggered basis, starting in January and finishing in October.

However, that's dependent on strict adherence to various requirements, including the provision of up-to-date accounts throughout the year, starting in January and ending in October.

Failure to meet the deadlines will result in the loss of €5,000.


Most Watched





Privacy