Money In The Bank

Here's how much the new €6.9m GPA government deal is worth for an inter-county GAA player

The three-year package was announced yesterday.

Dublin and Mayo players run out into Croke Park Dublin and Mayo players before the drawn All-Ireland final.

GAA INTER-COUNTY players got a major boost yesterday with the announcement that the funding they receive from the Government is set for a major increase.

A new €6.9 million package over the next three years was agreed with the Gaelic Players Association, who will then distribute the money to players.

The GPA will get €1.6 million in 2017, €2.3 million in 2018 and €3 million in 2019. The grants are distributed in the early months of the year in recognition of the previous season.

But what is it going to be worth to each individual GAA inter-county players?

Here’s a breakdown of what players will receive for every campaign.

  • 2015 season – Minimum €290 to Maximum €667
  • 2016 season – Minimum €517 to Maximum €1187
  • 2017 season – Minimum €745 to Maximum €1707
  • 2018 season – Minimum €970 to Maximum €2227

The grants operate on a sliding scale, depending on performance in the championship. For example counties in a lower-tier hurling competition like the Lory Meagher Cup will receive the minimum payment with the All-Ireland finalists set to receive the maximum payment.

There’s a significant increase for those finalists with the Kilkenny and Galway hurlers along with the Dublin and Kerry footballers from the 2015 finals having received €667, whereas the 2018 All-Ireland finalists will receive €2227.

Kilkenny and Galway players walk behind the band Galway and Kilkenny players before the 2015 All-Ireland hurling final Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

The new deal brings GAA players back closer to the level of €3.5 million funding per year that they received back in 2007 when the deal was first struck.

The economic crash inevitably lead to the package being reduced and GPA CEO Dessie Farrell, who steps down from his role shortly, explained how the scheme was nearly scrapped.

“There was a chance (the scheme would be binned). I think a previous generation of Department of Sport officials were never completely enamoured with this scheme so there was always a huge degree of resistance and when the recession came there was probably an opportunity there some would have considered to do away with he scheme altogether. but we kept it alive.

“I think that principle was very important to us to keep it alive because the parity of esteem issue for our players in relation to other athletes, professionals sports people or high performance athletes who receive funding through the carding system.

“And in the middle was this body of inter-county players who make such a contribution economically and socially and every other way and yet we weren’t being recognised by the state or supported by the state in any way.”

Dessie Farrell GPA CEO Dessie Farrell Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

The deal does fall short of the €7 million per year that the GPA had sought yet Farrell explained that figure included funding for the WGPA and other social programmes.

The WGPA scheme which caters for camogie and ladies football players is separately funded, and is worth €500,000 per year.

Farrell illustrated the worth of the deal to players.

“A lot of players out there are under serious financial difficulty. You need to be reacting and evolving in that way to meet the needs of our players on a constant basis.

“We went on a tour earlier this year visiting different squads and having regional meetings. The one issue that came back was while it’s great to have support and player development programs that we have in place but if players are struggling hand to mouth they are not going to engage with that.

“They are distracted and their priorities lie elsewhere. So being able to put in practical support for young students who can’t get a part time job due to their commitment the games or for more mature players who have young families and have mortgages and bills, to pay any level of support is very welcome.”

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