©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan Paraic Duffy addressing last year's GAA Congress in Mullingar.
# Debate
Duffy urges GAA to act now on manager payments
The GAA has released Paraic Duffy’s discussion paper on the issue of manager payments, which will be debated by county officials at a meeting this weekend.

THE GAA WILL consider “legalising” payments made to inter-county managers at a meeting in Croke Park this weekend.

This morning, the Association published Director General Paraic Duffy’s long-awaited discussion paper, which will frame the debate when the controversial issue of managerial compensation is tackled by county officials this Saturday.

In the 29-page document, Duffy outlined three options available to the GAA, which has been accused of hypocrisy for turning a blind eye to an estimated €12m in “under-the-counter” payments to managers.

Continuing to ignore the problem is not a viable option, Duffy explained, insisting that the GAA will have to either enforce its existing rules and clamp down on payments, or introduce a new system of regulated payments for senior inter-county managers.

The GAA has come under fire for dragging its feet on the issue, first raised by Duffy at the Annual Congress in 2010. Those who oppose manager payments firmly believe that the practice has no place in an amateur association, while supporters have urged Croke Park to find a modern solution which will keep everyone happy.

“The Association now finds itself in a situation in which a mix of incomplete information, half-truths and rumour have created an unhealthy atmosphere, one that has generated cynicism, created envy, undermined the Association’s volunteer spirit, and dishonoured its core value,” Duffy wrote.

Quite simply, if the Association continues to fail to address the issue that goes to the very heart of what the GAA represents, then it will lose the right  to speak truthfully and honestly about its professed core values of amateurism and  volunteerism.

If the GAA does opt to introduce regulated payments, the amount payable to managers would be capped at an appropriate level which will be determined by Croke Park.

Such a system could take a number of forms, Duffy continued, ranging from an “expenses” arrangement to formal contracts between the managers and the county boards, or even with provincial councils or Croke Park itself.

Aside from the inevitable difficulty of reconciling the payments with the GAA’s amateurism, Duffy pointed to a number of stumbling blocks which officials will have to be mindful of, including the possibility of players and the GAA’s volunteers demanding a similar compensation scheme for themselves.

Duffy’s document, which does not recommending one particular option, was circulated to senior GAA officials before its public release today.

The GAA confirmed this afternoon that there would be no further comment on the paper during the engagement process.

Read Paraic Duffy’s discussion document in full here >

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