Latest: GAA say Páirc Uí Chaoimh can't be used for Liam Miller tribute match

Latest: GAA say Páirc Uí Chaoimh can't be used for Liam Miller tribute match

Update 5.45pm: The GAA have said their hands are tied in relation to the rule preventing Páirc Uí Chaoimh being used for a Liam Miller tribute match, writes Stephen Barry.

The GAA say the rule can only be changed at its annual congress in February.

They also insisted that they're compliant with the terms and conditions around the €30m state funding received for the redevelopment of the stadium. The grant was approved by the European Commission on condition that the stadium "will be open to various users on a non-discriminatory and transparent basis".

A GAA statement read: "The GAA is prohibited in rule from hosting games other than those under the control of the Association in its stadia and grounds. The Cork County Committee and Central Council have no discretion in this matter.

"Only a change at Annual Congress can alter this situation. Congress takes place in February each year.

"The GAA has sought legal advice around funding received towards the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh and believes it is compliant with the terms and conditions laid down in September 2016.

"The Association re-affirms its offer to provide hospitality facilities at the venue free gratis to assist fundraising efforts around the Liam Miller Tribute Match and wish the event organisers every success in their endeavours."

The GAA rule in relation to 'uses of property' states that "grounds controlled by Association units shall not be used or permitted to be used for Horse Racing, Greyhound Racing, or for Field Games others than those sanctioned by Central Council".

The only exceptions in the GAA rulebook are for Croke Park, which can be authorised to hold other games by Central Council, and the Rugby World Cup 2023 or 2027, should the tournament be staged in Ireland.

The stated penalty is a "suspension or fine, as deemed appropriate".

Original story (5.18pm): FF write to GAA President calling for 'Páirc' to be opened for Liam Miller tribute

Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Sport, Kevin O’Keeffe has written to the GAA President, Mr John Horan requesting that Páirc Ui Chaoimh is made available for the Liam Miller Testimonial.

Speaking this afternoon Mr O'Keeffe said he was disappointed as a lifelong supporter of Gaelic Games that the request for the testimonial to take place in Cork’s premier sporting facility was rejected by GAA Headquarters.

“Liam Miller played soccer with distinction for his country, but in his youth was a proud GAA footballer. His untimely death cut short a very promising career and has left his family heartbroken.

“The GAA has its own internal rules and regulations, and they are entitled to decide who uses their facilities.

“However, I do find it both hypocritical and disingenuous for Páirc Ui Chaoimh and other sporting facilities to be used as venues for music concerts, and in the recent past, as venues for American Football.

Mr O'Keffee said he had no doubt that remembering and recognising one of Cork’s sporting stars following his untimely death is something ordinary, decent members of the GAA undoubtedly support.

“Ireland and its people have long moved past disagreements between GAA and soccer people. We all share and revel in the successes of all Irish people playing sport."

“I have requested Uachtarán CLG to facilitate a change of heart and of mind with regard to this request. If the GAA, a fine organisation which has the support of Irish people the length and breadth of the island continues to block Liam Miller’s Testimonial from taking place at Páirc Ui Chaoimh, it would be just plain wrong.

"It’s time for common sense and decency to prevail,” concluded O’Keeffe.

The GAA have yet to comment on the issue.

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