Wednesday 23 May 2018

Time to pay allowance to inter-county managers - Kelly

Former president argues special deals should reflect increased workload

Former GAA president Sean Kelly wants to see allowances for inter-county managers provided in an open, transparent way. Photo: Sportsfile
Former GAA president Sean Kelly wants to see allowances for inter-county managers provided in an open, transparent way. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Inter-county managers should be designated as a special category, entitled to extra allowances above and beyond the normal payments permitted under GAA rules.

The proposal comes from former president Seán Kelly, arising from comments by director-general Páraic Duffy that despite the GAA committing to addressing the problem of illegal payments to managers several years ago, it remains prevalent.

"The initiative simply failed," wrote Duffy in his annual report.

Kelly, who served as president in 2003-2006, said it was time to consider special deals for managers to take account of the increased workload.

"It's not like it was 20 or 30 years ago so we have to take the realities of the modern world into account. The role of manager has changed significantly in terms of the amount of work it involves and the time it takes up," said Kelly.

He believes that managers should be paid extra allowances in an open, transparent way, rather than continuing in a shadowy world where some are receiving sizeable under-the-counter payments while others are operating within strict GAA rules.

"First of all, it must be said that not all managers are being paid illegally. Men like Brian Cody and Eamonn Fitzmaurice aren't being paid and that applies to many others too. But it has also been the case for a long time that some managers are paid.

Evidence

"That has been known for years but without hard evidence there's no way of doing anything about it. Who is going to provide the evidence?

"Hardly the manager who's getting the money or those making the payments, so we need to take a fresh approach to this or else it will go on exactly the same as it has since the days when Peter Quinn said that not only could we not track down under-the-counter payments, we couldn't even find the tables," said Kelly.

He would support undertaking a study of the team manager's functions and deciding on an allowance commensurate with the responsibilities.

"We need to bring some legitimacy to the situation. We have to uphold our amateur rules but that can be done while providing an allowance for managers.

"It would be fair and equitable and remove the mystique.

"There are always stories about the vast sums manager A or B are supposed to be getting.

"No one knows if it's true but once the area is cloaked in secrecy , it will be seen as a problem. I would hope that when John Horan (president-elect) comes in, he will look at this again," he added.

Kelly, now a Fine Gael member of the European Parliament, accepts that payment issues arise in clubs too, a subject also addressed by Duffy.

He said that finding managers was a problem in many clubs, which had encouraged a payments culture.

Duffy included the option of paying inter-county managers in a position paper in 2010.

He envisaged it being similar to the arrangements which apply to other backroom personnel, including doctors, physiotherapists, nutritionists, and statisticians, who are paid an agreed fee for their services.

He said it would place all arrangements on a proper footing, with invoices raised in a formal manner.

He didn't specifically recommend the allowance model, instead putting it forward as one of four options. It received no support from county officers, who didn't really engage with the payments issue.

"We avoided it and that remained the policy," wrote Duffy .

His predecessor Liam Mulvihill proposed paying an allowance to managers 20 years ago at a time when illegal payments were high on the agenda.

Amateur

"I agree that while team managers (coaches) should remain amateur (and that the regulations should be strictly enforced with regard to them) there is a strong case to be made for paying county team managers an allowance for all the preparatory work necessary for coaching a county in the modern era.

"This is already paid to coaches taking coaching courses and I cannot see why it is not authorised for those in charge of county teams," he wrote in his 1998 annual report.

His controversial suggestion was ignored at Congress.

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport