GAA Football

GAA to meet counties over rising team costs

Ard Stiúrthóir of the GAA Tom Ryan at the launch of the publication of the Director General’s Annual Report at Croke Park in Dublin Picture by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Cahair O'Kane at Croke Park

THE GAA will meet with county chairmen in the next few weeks to discuss ways to stifle the rising costs of running inter-county teams.

Overall costs have risen annually since 2011, from €18.4m then to €25.2m in 2017. That year, Cork were the highest spenders, with €1.75m spent servicing their inter-county teams. They were one of seven counties to spend over €1m.

A report yesterday revealed Tipperary had spent over €1m last year despite both their inter-county hurlers and footballers being finished in June, while former Roscommon manager Kevin McStay estimated it took £5,000 a week to run his senior football team.

GAA director-general Tom Ryan said that the upcoming meeting may suggest a charter in which counties agree to limit “the size or scale of backroom teams… the size and scale of panels… [or] the playing equipment provided.”

Costs were not helped last year by the introduction of a GPA-agreed players’ charter that outlined minimum basic requirements that all players were entitled to.

“If I thought [costs couldn’t be curtailed] that would be damning. I think they can,” said Ryan.

“But I don’t think they can solely be done by three or four people in Jones’ Road.

“That has to be a collective undertaking by everybody. We plan on meeting with the county chairpersons in March time.

“That’s three or four weeks. Those things will be a recurring theme of the year ahead when we get 30 or 40 people together and we work out what our priorities should be for the year and how we got about collectively addressing them.

“That’s another example of something I don’t think a rule can fix. It’s about us all arriving collectively at a course of action and us all signing up to it. And always doing it.

“Those costs did drop a little bit over the course, four or five years ago - we were talking about making progress - but in hindsight that was as much to do with just the availability of funds around the country. They were constrained.

“It wasn’t necessarily because we were managing it any better, and those costs are growing again. And it’s not really sustainable.

“The sheer pressure it puts on counties is incredible. It puts the pressure on here too because we have a responsibility to at least part fund those counties and help them with that cost.

“But, there is a limit to the extent to which we can do that. Certainly it is something that has to be addressed.

“I would be at pains to say it’s all of us addressing it. I don’t have a magic answer.”

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