Friday 15 November 2019

Board officials get marching orders from sideline seats

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The banning of county board officials from the sideline during matches is sure to cause a stern reaction this week as the impact of Saturday's Central Council decision to reduce numbers is digested.

A proposal from the Central Competitions Controls Committee to the GAA's Management Committee originally considered reducing the number of those allowed along the sideline from 12 to eight, but even stricter measures are understood to have been sought and the number permitted to be pitch-side is now only five.

It means that county board secretaries and chairmen will have to conduct their paperwork business from the stands, while most management teams will also be divided between the sideline and the stands with just a manager and selector now cleared to be 'inside the wire'.

The number of water carriers has been halved from four to two, while only a doctor or a physio will be permitted inside the pitch.

The problem for the GAA authorities is that not every ground is currently equipped with enclosed seating in the stands to accommodate such an arrangement.

Saturday's meeting also decided to retain two groups of six in Division 1 of the hurling league but add quarter-finals to the 2014 hurling league. This was despite support for a return to an eight-team Division 1 by many of the stronger hurling counties.


Meanwhile, the Mayo County Board has recorded a massive profit of €227,397, dampening any contention that they were facing an imminent financial cliff over debts relating to MacHale Park.

Mayo secretary Kevin O'Toole has credited the improvement with the decision to bring all fundraising under the control of the board in 2012. Fundraising increased by €180,000, according to the accounts, and O'Toole notes this in his address to convention.

"The net value of that decision is reflected in this year's balance sheet and in the board's success in dealing with our creditors during 2012," he writes. Some €150,000 of pre-sold season tickets have also been recorded in the accounts.

"The increase in expenditure on teams, coaching and schools is testament to the board's commitment to the development of football and hurling in the county, and contrary to the opportunistic accusations during the year by some individuals that all funds raised would go to debt reduction."

O'Toole also highlights a growing disciplinary problem within the county.

"During the year we had to deal with an increasing number of incidents involving players, managers and supporters, some of them very serious incidents and a lot of them involving underage teams," he says.

"Discipline, on and off the field, must be a priority for team managements and for clubs. 'Give Respect, Get Respect' needs to be more than a four-word sentence."

Irish Independent

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