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'We want to double amount we're giving to our clubs'

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GAA director-general Tom Ryan has defended the GAA’s ticket price increases, pointing out that around one-quarter of attendances (children) aren’t charged for admission while a half avail of discount deals or pre-booking.(stock photo)

GAA director-general Tom Ryan has defended the GAA’s ticket price increases, pointing out that around one-quarter of attendances (children) aren’t charged for admission while a half avail of discount deals or pre-booking.(stock photo)

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GAA director-general Tom Ryan has defended the GAA’s ticket price increases, pointing out that around one-quarter of attendances (children) aren’t charged for admission while a half avail of discount deals or pre-booking.(stock photo)

GAA director-general Tom Ryan has defended the GAA's ticket-price increases, pointing out that around one-quarter of attendances (children) aren't charged for admission while a half avail of discount deals or pre-booking.

That leaves one-quarter paying full admission prices for many games. Ryan said the rationale behind the price hike was to increase revenue for redistribution.

"We are a non-profit, voluntary organisation so we have to be self-sustaining. We give back what we take in. We want to double the amount we're giving clubs," he said.

County ground developments, county boards and international units will also benefit from the additional income.

"I think everyone will agree they are all worthy projects and we want to do as much as we can for them," added Ryan.

Expressing concerns over the impact of Brexit, Ryan said while it made careful guarding of the GAA's financial well-being very important, an even more important consideration arose too.

Disorderly

"The financial and economic risks are really only secondary for the GAA. The most profound threat posed to us by a disorderly decoupling of Britain is social.

"The effective operation of countless clubs in the border region, and countless communities in which those clubs are based, is our primary concern. We absolutely need free movement of our members and volunteers.

"Furthermore, we cannot countenance a return to the security environment that characterised the country before the Good Friday Agreement," stated Ryan.

Commenting on the new formats for the All-Ireland hurling and football championships, he said that while they had been an overall success, some issues did arise.

In hurling, the hectic nature of the Leinster and Munster round-robins caused concern, but those had been addressed for this year. He also said that it was disappointing for Waterford that they were not able to host any championship games in Walsh Park.

"Overall though, it was a wonderful year for our games in both codes," he added.

Referring to club fixtures, he said that it was a period of significant change, arising from leaving April free of inter-county activity and playing the All-Ireland finals earlier.

"Creating additional time for club fixtures is one thing: ensuring that it is used effectively by counties is the real challenge," he added.

"Some counties adopted really well and others struggled, which was as we would have expected. The changes to the inter-county season were always to take a couple of years to begin to make a real impact on the club game."

Irish Independent