The GAA will provide the GPA with over €6 million per annum over three years (2017-19) as part of their new framework agreement – a jump of almost two and a half times the value of their current deal, writes John Fogarty.
In a new initiative, 15% of the GAA’s net central commercial revenue (media coverage, sponsorship, franchising, licensing) will be handed over to the official players’ body. In 2015, that figure was €2m but €2.5m is the minimum guaranteed.
A total of €1.2m per annum will go towards players’ nutritional expenses, while the GAA have guaranteed an additional €800,000 per year for player services.
Inter-county players’ mileage rates will also increase from 50 cent per mile to between 62.5 and 65 cent per mile with a maximum cost of €1.5m. As of present, county boards pay players’ mileage but Croke Park will from 2017 distribute the additional expenses relating to the improved rate.
A figure of €200,000 will be set aside for surgical interventions for former inter-county players.
Outside of mileage expenses, the GAA’s interim agreement with the GPA is currently worth approximately €2m.
Providing Central Council rubberstamps the deal, the GPA will also be entitled to submit one motion to Congress as well as an increase of their Congress representation to two delegates. A new working group involving players and officials will also be established to examine demands on players with their proposals going forward to Central Council by the middle of next year.
“Our inter-county players make a special contribution to the Association in so many ways,” said GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail. “The increased commitment involved in playing our games at inter-county level has been commonly acknowledged for some time. We are serious about the welfare of our players and will continue to work with the GPA to safeguard that welfare.”
GPA president Dermot Earley remarked: “By pledging to support the needs of county players and recognising the increasingly challenging environment in which they operate, the GAA has taken a very important step in securing their future wellbeing.”
Earley, Limerick’s Seamus Hickey (GPA secretary) as well as GPA officers Richie Hogan and Paul Flynn were part of the GPA’s negotiating team.