Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Paying GAA managers 'would be a disaster'

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody

Kilkenny hurling boss Brian Cody has described the prospect of payments to managers as "a disaster", warning that it would only serve to re-open the debate on professionalism among players.

Cody is critical of suggestions that managers or players should be rewarded financially for their efforts outside of expenses, arguing vehemently that there is no sacrifice involved in playing for or managing your county.

"No way should managers be paid at all," said Cody last night. "In the GAA? Absolutely not. It would be a disaster.

"A few years ago we had big discussions about players being paid. The people who were hoping for it to happen realised and accept now that it just can't happen. That it's impossible to have professionalism in our association. It couldn't be sustained.

"For whatever reason, and I don't understand it, (the GAA's director general Páraic Duffy is) talking about paying managers as if this is the correct way to do the thing. If that were to happen, it would resurrect the potential for players and everyone else being paid."

Speaking during an interview at the Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise, organised to help raise funds for Laois club Rosenallis, Cody continued: "I choose to do this. It's not a sacrifice. It's a choice I made. It's not even remotely a sacrifice. It's the same with players. I read often about the savage commitment and sacrifices inter-county players make.

"I don't feel sorry for inter-county players. I envy them. Because in Kilkenny, they're beating down the door to get into the dressing-room. They would crawl to training if they thought they could get onto the county panel.

"No way should we be paid."

Cody acknowledged that it was likely that some managers were being paid but cannot see the logic in legitimising the practice.

"I've yet to meet a man who has said to me 'I'm cleaning up in this job' or anything. But if some managers are getting paid, is the cure to pay all managers?"

Meanwhile, Cody believes that the time is ripe for a change in the format of the hurling championships, with the provincial competitions being jettisoned for a round-robin league structure.

"I would change it because I think the whole back-door system has diluted the interest in the provincial championships," he said.

"The time to do it is when things are going well. You can't leave it go until the crowds are no longer coming. Go out there and change it, and make it exciting."

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