GAA Football

The GAA will recover after the pandemic: Antrim chief Ciaran McCavana

Antrim chairman Ciaran McCavana (right) wants the governments to provide assistance to the GAA and other sporting bodies

ANTRIM chairman Ciaran McCavana is confident the GAA will recover from the Covid19 pandemic and called on the Irish and British governments to support the Association, and other sporting bodies, in their hour of need.

The Naomh Enna clubman also praised GAA President John Horan for his handling of the lockdown and erring on the side of caution in relation to a return to playing games.

With Horan pouring cold water on the Irish government’s hope of Gaelic Games resuming on July 20 (club) and October (inter-county), many people felt slightly deflated by his statements on The Sunday Game.

“It’s a very fluid situation. Let’s be honest, we’re in unknown territory,” said McCavana.

“We could be in a different head space in three weeks’ time. With the advice the GAA has, they are trying to make decisions based on that. You have to take your hat off to John Horan. He’s in his last year and people regard the President’s last year as a bit of a swan-song. He’s done well during Covid19 and having to deal with big calls.

“We do welcome the fact the Croke Park has said we are one Association and there will not be a disparity between the 26 counties and the six counties.

“People up here have to take the advice of the British government. Even a partisan person would say that the British government doesn’t seem to be handling the situation too well compared to the south where there is a clearer roadmap.

“And while some people may not like some of the aspects of the roadmap there is a clearer vision.”

With the GAA expected to lose €50m in revenue this year, the Antrim chief insists the Association can recalibrate its revenue streams after the pandemic.

McCavana, who is a partner in a chartered accountant firm in Belfast, said: “From a professional point of view, the GAA is a solid business. There is a demand for it and that demand has ceased temporarily because of Covid19.

“Now, Covid19 is not going to last forever, so once it is contained the product of the GAA will be able to flourish again. The GAA doesn’t keep huge reserves because who would have imagined a pandemic like this would have hit. Even when you look at foot and mouth, the GAA was able to get around that.

“But I’m confident that what the GAA will lose in revenue it will make up because from an investment point of view it would be a very sure bet. Last year the GAA had a surplus of €12m but that was a bumper year.

“It will have to tighten its belt but you would imagine it could claw back the money it would lose.

“I’d have no issues of liquidity. Once we get back out onto the pitches our revenues streams will start moving again.

“It’s probably more a cash flow issue right now because this is the peak time for cash flow for the Association. You would hope that the governments would see how big a role the GAA plays in society and if you put the GAA people hours into the community you’re talking billions of hours of unpaid volunteerism.

“It’s the same for other sports. So it would make sense for governments to invest in the GAA and other sports to keep the wheels oiled until they get back on their feet. It may be a case where the governments do come in and provide short-term cash-flow for the likes of the GAA.”

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GAA Football