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Crackdown on GAA managers’ pay

The GAA’s drive to finally outlaw the practice of paying club and county managers over and above the regulation expenses will be stepped up this month.

GAA Director General Paraic Duffy will present his eagerly-awaited discussion document to the Management Committee at a Croke Park meeting and it is hoped that the paper will then become a major topic of debate at a Central Council meeting.

Duffy has spent the last number of weeks preparing his document which he hopes will serve as a further guideline to the GAA hierarchy in its bid to come to terms with what is viewed as an ongoing problem.

Given the scale of the financial recession, particularly in the Republic, many clubs and county boards are now strapped for funds yet it appears some are prepared to go out on a limb in their efforts to find the “rewards” for what they feel is the right manager.

But while this practice has flourished in the past, the severity of the economic situation means that Croke Park are now monitoring the finances of county boards in particular more closely and there would appear to be a greater level of accountability in operation.

Monaghan native Duffy, meanwhile, makes it clear that his carefully-crafted document is very much a discussion paper and nothing more.

“It is certainly not reflective of policy in any way. The paper will go before the upcoming meeting of the Management Committee and then maybe it will reach Central Council. At some stage it may be put into the public domain,” said Duffy.

Several high-ranking GAA officials, including president Christy Cooney and Ulster chairman Aoghan Farrell, have already voiced strong views on their opposition to the payment of managers.

Cooney makes it clear that while obtaining concrete evidence confirming that managers are being paid in excess of the regulation expenses will be very difficult, nevertheless he insists that “there will have to be action” if the cancer is to be erased.

“Clubs and counties simply cannot afford to be living above their means in the present economic climate. This is an issue that needs to be tackled,” he adds.

And Farrell reiterates his plea to clubs and counties to appoint managers from within their own boundaries. “I feel that this would greatly help to underpin the volunteer ethic,” says Farrell.

There is strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that even this year some managers benefited substantially from ‘over the top’ payments yet a number of county bosses receive nothing more than the minimum amounts.

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