Friday 27 April 2018

Payments to GAA managers on way?

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

A scheme to regularise payments to GAA team managers could be on its way.

Some county chairmen who met GAA president Christy Cooney and Paraic Duffy this week were left with the impression that proposals for the introduction of formal payments to managers were under consideration.

Director-general Duffy's discussion document on the GAA's amateur status rule has not yet been published despite being finalised pre-Christmas, leading to speculation that it contains some far-reaching proposals, especially on managerial payments.

Duffy warned last April that after 10 years of failing to deal with illegal payments to managers, the time had come to address the issue head on.

He proposed setting up a committee to examine the controversial area, but was later invited by the Management Committee to present his own discussion paper. It was put before management late last year, but has not yet either been published or come before Central Council.

County chairmen, who met Cooney and Duffy this week, got no official indication of what the document contains, although there were general discussions on payments to managers.

"Clearly, there's a view that the current situation can't last where some counties and clubs are paying their managers well above the odds, while others are sticking to the guidelines.

"It's impossible to police it, however many rules are in place. The obvious option is to regularise payments to managers, bringing it all out in the open and my hunch is that's the direction we're heading. Alternatively, a proposal to ban the use of outside managers altogether could be made, but it wouldn't get much support," said one county chairman.

The role of county team managers has changed dramatically over the years and has reached a stage where it's now virtually a full-time job. Technically, managers should be paid official GAA expenses only, but there's a growing view that, given the level of responsibility attached to the position, they should be paid officially, thus bringing an end to the under-the-counter culture which currently prevails.

It now remains to be seen when Duffy's report will be published. The next Central Council meeting is due to take place prior to Congress in Mullingar in mid-April.

Irish Independent

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