Cooney cautions clubs on finances

GAA PRESIDENT Christy Cooney has urged clubs around the country to pullback from major developments that threaten their financial well-being and revealed the association will continue to give support to clubs who find themselves in difficulties due to the economic meltdown.

Dublin club Thomas Davis held an emergency meeting last night to discuss their parlous state of their finances while Laois outfit Portlaoise are another high-profile club hit by the downturn.

There is anecdotal evidence of other clubs around the country in difficulty and Cooney insists the GAA are committed to assisting such clubs, including involvement in consultations with financial institutions over the terms of loan repayments.

“The economic situation is a worry to everybody and the GAA is no different. Every club, one way or another, has their own challenges. We will financially advise and support in any way we can to help clubs get out of their problems. Provincial councils and county boards will support that as well.

“We will also talk to financial institutions to see how we can reschedule their loan situations. We’ve been talking to people continuously over the last year and a half.

“We just have to pull back a little bit on the development we’ve been undertaking, especially if the money isn’t there. We’ve been saying quite openly to the clubs and county boards, if you can’t financially support something, then you just don’t take it on. Because all you’re going to be doing is getting yourself into fierce financial difficulty.

“Look, who didn’t over-extend themselves in the economic climate over the last few years?

“Some did but they did do it for the right reasons. It just didn’t work out for them.

“Over the decade prior to the economic downturn there was plenty money around and lottery funding available so it was an opportune time for us to develop. We did that very successfully. But we now need to take stock a little bit about what we can and cannot do.”

Meanwhile Cooney insists that the GAA’s hands are tied when it comes to addressing the issue of high-profile transfers from rural clubs to Dublin outfits.

Laois dual star John O’Loughlin became the latest player to switch to a Dublin club last week with a proposed move from Mountmellick toSt Brigid’s.

Despite the outrage expressed by club officials in the O’Moore County, Cooney is adamant Croke Park cannot intervene.

“Once players and clubs abide by the transfer regulations that are there, then we can’t do anything about it. This is not unique that players are transferring.

“We have regulations in every county concerning transfers. It always would be my wish that players would play with their home club unless in unforeseen circumstances where they move leave home and move away, and end up transferring to another club.

“It’s an extremely difficult situation for the clubs that have players going. But if they adhere to the regulations, we cannot touch them. They have the perfect right to move once the transfers are in order.”

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