GAA and GPA set to disclose funding plans
More details are expected to be revealed in midweek in relation to the long-term agreement initially entered into by the GAA and the Gaelic Players Association towards the end of 2009.
The matter was discussed at Saturday’s Central Council meeting in Croke Park and it was agreed that a formal statement outlining key elements of the pact would be released on Wednesday.
One of the main issues will be funding — the GAA had originally undertaken to provide some €1.1m per annum to help facilitate the GPA’s ambitious player welfare programme.
This programme, which is also due to be rolled out in more detail next month, now comes under four main headings — Education, Career Development, Health and Well-Being and Benevolent Fund.
Since the pact was initially entered into between the two bodies, the financial situation, particularly in the Republic of Ireland, has worsened.
And with the GAA having to forego the lucrative rental sums it was accruing from having opened Croke Park to international rugby and soccer, this means that its overall income has dropped.
The Aviva Stadium is up and running and given that the GAA is under pressure to peg match ticket prices, there is a considerable focus on just to what extent it will continue to help fund the GPA. It is also believed that the discussion paper drawn up by Director General Paraic Duffy concerning the illegal payment of some county team managers came up for debate at Saturday’s meeting.
Duffy has stressed that his detailed document is a bid to put flesh on the bones of what is a thorny issue within the GAA right now with a view to promoting informed discussion on the matter. Both he and GAA President Christy Cooney have made it very clear that the practice of paying county bosses over and above the regulation expenses must be dealt with sooner rather than later.
And Duffy has also made his views known on the undercurrent of discontent that lingers following the November-December close season.
Many county managers, including several in Ulster among them Monaghan boss Eamon McEnaney and Derry manager John Brennan, have criticised the shutdown, arguing that it does not allow them adequate time in which to prepare their teams properly for January competitions.
It is expected that this matter will be brought up at Central Council level in the near future given the depth of ill-feeling it has provoked and the substantial anecdotal evidence that would suggest a number of counties have not been adhering to the ban on collective training sessions during the close season.