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Westmeath chairman warns over team funding for 2021

 

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Foley says he can “live with” a potential return beyond July 20 if it happens, stressing the need to maintain the “responsible approach.” Stock photo

Foley says he can “live with” a potential return beyond July 20 if it happens, stressing the need to maintain the “responsible approach.” Stock photo

SPORTSFILE

Foley says he can “live with” a potential return beyond July 20 if it happens, stressing the need to maintain the “responsible approach.” Stock photo

Westmeath GAA chairman Billy Foley has reinforced the safety-first approach the Association has adopted during the current Covid-19 emergency. But he acknowledged there is concern growing over their financial situation that he says could impact the preparation of their teams in 2021.

Foley says he can "live with" a potential return beyond July 20 if it happens, stressing the need to maintain the "responsible approach."

 But if there is no local championship or even a scaled-back version in the autumn, he said the county will struggle to fund preparations in the early part of next year when much of the cost is front-loaded.

"The reality is, if we went back next autumn where are we going to get money to pay our expenses to run our county teams, pay our development coaches," he asked.

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"We are a small dual county. Ourselves, Laois, Offaly and Clare, I would class at the same level. We try to run both hurling and football to the best of our ability. Where are we going to get the money to run these things?

"For funding, we need to run our own championships first. Our primary focus is totally on the safety of the community but we are concerned with the financial situation, as any county in our position would be.

"Our hurlers are in Division One, our footballers are in Division Two, it's quite a high standard in both. We're ambitious, we want to improve we want to get on but the priority has to be public health."

Foley said they had been hoping to run a surplus in 2020 to help with getting the development of a training centre underway.

He said his board supported the approach taken by the GAA at central level and that it was "far too early to say" when there should a be a return made by teams.

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