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GAA could face €60m loss due to coronavirus shutdown - Director General

Tom Ryan says GAA have made plans in case games cannot resume until as late as August.

Ryan: GAA
Ryan: GAA "will be back but it will be different".
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THE GAA COULD face losses of up to €60 million due to the Covid-19 pandemic and sporting shutdown, according to Director General Tom Ryan.

With all sport in Ireland cancelled indefinitely, the Association initially planned for the prospect that the 2020 season could resume as early as 1 May.

But Croke Park bosses have conceded that a later date is now inevitable and drawn up “a few different permutations and plans” on the basis that games may not restart until as late as July or August.

Speaking to the Sport for Business Leadership Series, Ryan also outlined the extent to which the Association’s finances could suffer.

“It still feels a little bit churlish to be talking about those things, there are greater costs being paid by people,” he said. 

“But we do have a responsibility to make sure that the place is fit for purpose and able to get going again when the opportunity permits, so we have to be very, very careful with how we navigate our way through the next few months.

It’s going to have, it’s already having, a really serious impact on things. Central Council-wise, there’s probably about €60 million at risk.

“All we have is matches, that’s all we have. We don’t have an international umbrella organisation or anything like that that can come to our aid.

“Everything that we generate is generated pretty much on the island of Ireland, and it’s all generated within probably a two- or three-month period of the year which is the period that could be lost to us. Income wise, we’ll suffer.”

Source: Sport for Business/YouTube

From a fixtures perspective, one option being considered is to run-off the final rounds of league games in parallel with the championships.

“All they are at this stage is just ideas, and you’re looking at what length of period you would need to actually play off the championships, looking at whether you’d finish the leagues or not – in certain scenarios you might, not really for the leagues themselves in terms of the trophies and winners and so on, but they’ll have a big bearing on next year for where people are going to play.

If there was a possibility to play some of those games interspersed in the middle of championship as and when teams became available to play off a final league game, you might do that, or you might play them before the championship would restart in lieu of inevitable challenge matches that people would want to play.

Ryan added: “It’s also important as well not to forget that there’s 32 counties that will want to play their club championships and their leagues as well if they can too so we need to allow plenty of space for that. I think when people are missing Gaelic games, they’re missing their own local club stuff as much if not more in some cases because that’s the real social outlet for people as well. It’s not just a case of how long does it take to play Sam Maguire and how long does it take to play for Liam MacCarthy.

“It will be back but it will be different though. What precise shape or form it will take, I don’t know, but it’s fair to say it will be significantly different.”

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Niall Kelly

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