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Warning over GAA team spending and Euro 2020 to impact on Croke Park concerts

The GAA are also set to name their new second-tier football championship at the end of February.

Croke Park (file photo) is unlikely to hosts concerts this summer.
Croke Park (file photo) is unlikely to hosts concerts this summer.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

GAA DIRECTOR-GENERAL Tom Ryan has warned that current inter-county team spending is ‘not sustainable’ after the combined 2019 figure was just short of €30 million for preparing senior teams around the country.

Ryan admits he is unsure if ‘rules and spending caps’ would have an impact in curbing the spending but insisted that the costs ‘simply must be curtailed’.

“The combined costs of preparing and fielding senior inter-county teams for the 32 counties came to €29.74 million in 2019,” writes Ryan in his annual report release today.

“This was an increase of 11.6% over the previous year, a trend that simply cannot continue. Counties have largely managed to grow their incomes to year to keep pace with increasing costs. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of counties returned surpluses this year. But that is not the point. This is not sustainable in the long-term.

“The solution may well lie with rules and spending caps. I am hesitant only because our track record with similar rule-based enforcement around county teams is mixed. The solution has to start with a collective recognition that we take collective responsibility and start the reverse the trend now.

“County budgets are only beneficial if they are realistic. The budget should be approved by the county committee, distilled down to team level and performance tracked against it. Performance against budget will need to become one of the measures by which a county is assessed, and perhaps even funded.

“Good financial management and good governance in all our units is of the utmost importance. Now more than ever. And costs of preparing teams simply must be curtailed. Any of us who have control in either of these spheres has responsibility.”

tom-ryan GAA Director-General Tom Ryan Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Also at today’s report launch, Peter McKenna revealed that Croke Park seems set not to host any major concerts this summer with the new multi-country hosting model for Euro 2020 acting as a barrier for acts who would embark on European tours.

“The bands are not travelling,” remarked the stadium’s director.

“The big touring caravans as they were are not doing Europe because the 2020 Euros have sucked up so many cities. I mean it’s not just in one venue, it’s in 20 or 12 different cities. So that has taken the value of a European tour off of big bands.”

The GAA are also set to announce the name of the cup for their new second-tier football championship by the 2020 Congress on the weekend of 28-29 February.

Ryan is keen to drop the ‘second-tier tag’ and sees giving a name to the competition as ‘a pressing matter’. He has also written about the benefits that he sees from the structure in giving every county at the start of the year a chance of success while the promotion and relegation help create ‘all the ingredients we look for in a vibrant competition’.

“The association has obligations to deliver upon in terms of promotion and profile, and we will do so. I hope in turn that we all give the competition a fair chance to succeed. I believe it will work.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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