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GAA crackdown on gaffers’ pay

The GAA is to launch all-out war on illegal payments to county and club managers in the autumn.

The onslaught is designed to tackle once and for all what has been an on-going source of controversy since the early 1990s.

Director-general, Paraic Duffy has been handed the responsibility to devise the initial proposals.

“I would hope to put them before the Management Committee in September. They will take it from there and, following consultation with all interested parties, a clear way forward will be proposed,” said Duffy.

He initiated the latest debate on the illegal fees issue last spring when he proposed the establishment of a committee to look into amateur status at a time when there's strong anecdotal evidence of payments to managers.

However, rather than establish a committee, management decided that Duffy himself should prepare a position document which will act as the basis for later action.

“This doesn't just relate to the inter-county scene. In fact, there's evidence that it's a bigger problem at club level. We want to address it in its entirety so that everybody knows where they stand,” he said.

The matter was discussed at a recent meeting between senior Croke Park and county officials where one of the suggestions put forward was that inter-county managers be paid an allowance in addition to their expenses to take account of the extra work involved.

“Everybody will have their own idea on how this should be addressed. We need a really serious debate on it so I'll be trying to present as broad a range of options as possible so that we can take it on from there,” said Duffy.

The GAA has failed in the past to sort out the payments issue but are now determined to make another attempt arising from fears that the rules on amateurism are coming under severe threat, not least from the club and county managers.

According to Duffy, ignoring the problem in the hope that it will disappear is not practical.

“The least acceptable option is to continue to proclaim a value and, at the same time, ignore it. And expressing a determination, genuine as it might be, is meaningless unless followed by effective action,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph