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GAA set to permit Liam Miller match to be played at Páirc Uí Chaoimh

By Colm Keys

The GAA is edging closer to hosting the Liam Miller benefit match in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, as the Central Council has been put on notice of a potential meeting tomorrow to vote on the issue.

The association's management committee has a scheduled meeting tonight at which an interpretation of rule 5.1, which governs the uses of GAA property in the context of the benefit match, will be given.

If and when that interpretation establishes that the nature of the benefit match is a field game not in conflict with the "aims and objectives" of the association, approval will then be sought by a central council meeting convened at short notice.

Counties were given notification of a possible meeting by GAA director-general Tom Ryan yesterday.

The GAA has been under fire for the initial refusal to give the stadium over for the match when an approach was made by the organisers.

It is not clear when GAA officials at Croke Park were first made aware of that approach, but the response from headquarters since has been widely criticised.

Particular focus was put on a statement issued on Friday last week, emphasising how Cork and Central Council had no discretion to set aside the rule to allow the game to be played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and emphasising how they were compliant with terms and conditions in relation to State funding for the redevelopment of the ground, according to legal advice.

Mr Ryan and GAA president John Horan met with Cork County Board officials and event organisers on Tuesday to discuss playing the match in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Mr Ryan and Mr Horan had no power to give clearance without Central Council approval, but any recommendation from management is virtually certain to get that now in the circumstances.

The landscape for future State funding for GAA stadiums looks set to change on the back of the Cork controversy with strong indications from Government sources in recent days that it will be incumbent on having community and multi-dimensional elements.

Meanwhile, FAI CEO John Delaney refused to get drawn into the heated debate over whether the testimonial game should be moved to Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

"I couldn't comment on anything that does not come within our remit" said Delaney.

"That is a separate issue to be dealt with outside the FAI. That is a matter for the GAA, not for me to comment."

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