Uncertainty on Allstars due to Vodafone deal

THE future of the Vodafone GAA Allstars award scheme is believed to be in doubt following the acceptance of the mobile giant as one of the three sponsors of the All-Ireland football championship.

All that is known for certain is that the company will continue with the monthly award scheme for March and April and that after the presentation to the two April award winners in May their future involvement in the Allstars is up for review.

While this is what Vodafone are saying, the GAA line is that they have been so busy in bringing the multi-sponsor package for the hurling and football championships to a conclusion, that they ‘have not got around’ to dealing with the Allstars.

“We have not engaged seriously with Vodafone on the matter so far,’’ said a spokesman. Expressing confidence that they would maintain an Allstars scheme — and that there should not be any difficulty tying it in with a new sponsor if circumstances dictate — he added: “The scheme and the tours provide an important avenue of communication between the people at the head of the association and the players and everybody else.’’

Speculation that some of the other companies involved in the new deal might not be in favour of Vodafone having a continuing involvement in the Allstars could not be confirmed. The view taken that is it would give them an unfair advantage, just as much as the surprise entry of RTÉ (as one of the sponsors of the hurling championship) is seen in some quarters as giving them an edge over rivals TV3.

Bank of Ireland previously sponsored the Allstars from 1979. They withdrew after the 1994 awards to concentrate on the football championship.

The Allstars were then sponsored by two years by Powerscreen, but following a disagreement in mid-1997, the GAA indicated that they would organise the scheme themselves until Vodafone (then Eircell) came in.

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