By Declan Rooney
A leading GAA official believes it is only a matter of time before players seek compensation for the intrusion into their lives by social media.
Long-serving Roscommon official Michael Fahey, who recently stepped down after completing five years as County Board chairman, reckons that GAA players will seek compensation from the association for the massive increase in the scrutiny of their lives.
Fahey said the advent of social media like Twitter and Facebook has left players open to more criticism, while the sale of TV rights to Sky Sports has also ramped up the pressure on players.
“The arrival of Sky Sports as one of our broadcast platforms has introduced pay per view to our games,” said Fahey.
“Social media, Twitter, Facebook are now a source of information to the general public while YouTube can provide instant video on events and incidents that occur on and off the field.
“These are changes on and off the field that have increased pressure on players at all level and can be very intrusive into the lives of people who are amateurs.
“How long will players, especially high profile players, whose lives are open to continuous scrutiny, allow this to happen without compensation for living in this environment?
“It is something that needs to be looked at and our players have to be protected from intrusion into player’s private lives.”
Fahey, who was replaced as Roscommon chairman by Seamus Sweeney after his completion of a maximum five years in the position, admitted it was a very different world when he took the role.
“A lot has changed in the GAA world. We have seen changes in the way our games are played, in particular football and to a lesser extent hurling,” said Fahey.
“We as an association have faced challenges in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
“We must however ensure that we have a product that is enjoyable to watch, well organised and run in a proper manner that appeals to the public.
“If we do this, then we can face the future with confidence that our games will continue to be something we as members and supporters of the GAA love and enjoy,” he said.