Tuesday 16 January 2018

Fines put 'undue pressure' on county boards – Delaney

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

USING fines to punish teams for breaches of match-day regulations is a bad idea, according to one of the GAA's own top brass.

Leinster Council CEO Michael Delaney has voiced serious misgivings about the practice, arguing that sanctioning the offending individuals, not fining county boards, would be a much better idea.

Delaney has backed one of the major changes to match-day regulations this year – the decision to reduce the numbers of team officials on the sideline from 12 to five – but has sounded some cautionary notes.

The fine for having more than five officials on the sideline has been fixed at €700.

But in his report to Leinster's upcoming convention, Delaney says fines for breaches of match-day regulations "puts undue pressure on county chairmen and secretaries, not to mention the nightmare it brings to county treasurers."

"Surely more emphasis should be put on sanctioning the offending individuals, rather than the helpless (in most cases) county committees," he says.

Delaney also expresses "real concerns" about the proposed monitoring and reporting of such breaches through the 'fourth official' as an addition to a referee's match report, saying: "It sounds like a monumental task, but only time will tell."

He supports the new regulation, saying "congestion on the sidelines in recent years had become unsightly, unmanageable and, frankly, bordering on the dangerous."

Delaney says some counties have been slow to realise how the new rule affects them: "Impassioned pleas at a recent Central Council meeting failed to change them and so counties must now learn to live with it."

Meanwhile, the commercial value of Dublin football to the council is underlined by last summer's championship gate receipt, which shows that last year's Leinster SFC final between the Dubs and Meath brought in €1.39m.

Dublin (against Wexford) were also involved in the Leinster semi-final double-header (with Meath-Kildare) that brought in €817,828, and even the quarter-final double-header involving Dublin-Louth and Wexford-Longford was worth €427,454.

Those numbers were in sharp contrast to some of the province's biggest hurling games, with the Leinster final, in which Galway caused such a sensation by beating Kilkenny, only bringing in a gate of €312,509.

The opening-round SHC game between Westmeath and Antrim provided gate receipts of just €1,795, with Carlow-Laois providing €15,872.

Leinster's income in 2012 was €8.12m (up €180,000 on 2011) and their expenditure was €7.9m, another marginal increase from €7.7m in 2011.

They distributed €4.45m of that in 'games development', including €1.7m to pay games promotion officers and almost €900,000 in coaching development projects.

Westmeath (€136,000) and Kildare (€127,000) were the top beneficiaries of club capital grants.

Leinster's Convention takes place in Newbridge on Friday with one change at the top table, as Carlow's Jim Bolger takes over as treasurer from Louth's Pat Toner.

Irish Independent

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