Páirc set for 35,000 capacity

Páirc Uí Chaoimh’s capacity will be in the region of 35,000 for this summer’s Munster championship.

The Irish Examiner understands the figure is currently in the mid-30,000s after work was done following the Slattery stadium audit, but it could yet rise on more improvements being done.

The venue could stage two major Munster semi-finals in both codes involving Cork against Kerry in football and Cork v Tipperary in hurling if those two counties win their respective quarter-finals.

Turnstiles were added for the Munster hurling final last year, which weren’t used as the crowd fell well short of capacity, while games there this summer will benefit from an improved traffic plan. The Cork County Board, in conjunction with the Munster Council, are extending external areas around the stadium.

Cork officials are currently visiting various stadia before deciding what design to take on the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh, with work set to commence later this year.

Meanwhile, Gaelic Match Officials Association (GMOA) secretary, Alan Nash, has claimed any referee now accepting an expenses cheque faces the possibility of paying tax liabilities on it later in the year.

While Croke Park has attempted to appease referees’ concerns by stating counties will be paid the same as in 2011 as they hold further talks with Revenue, the request for PPS numbers in Limerick and existence of new expenses sheets in other counties has muddied the water.

“The GAA are negotiating with Revenue but we have already been told by Revenue any expenses a referee receives must be declared for tax liabilities,” said Nash.

“So what are the GAA negotiating? If I was asked to referee a match at the moment I would say no because I could be liable for tax on that cheque at the end of the year. I don’t know how that cheque will affect my income or tax credits.

“The only firm proposal is the €13.71 and €0.50 per mile rate.

“Referees just want a written proposal on how we’re going to get paid. But how can we get paid the same as last year when we have to pay tax now?”

Nash doesn’t understand what exactly the GAA intend achieving from the negotiations but wants the confusion ended.

“There are verbal agreements that the existing arrangements will remain but in two counties I know they’re still handing out new expenses sheets.

“If the 2011 rates apply, why aren’t they using 2011 sheets? In Limerick, they’re looking for PPS numbers.

“With tax liabilities, there are social welfare implications as well. Anyone on employment assistance or a medical card is directly affected by this.

“We’ve been waiting weeks to see this proposal and we’re still not getting anywhere.”

Nash insists referees don’t want to discommode players from fulfilling fixtures but they’re getting anxious.

“No referee wants to make themselves unavailable but until we know how we’re fixed, we’ll have concerned refs asking us daily how and what they’re going to be paid this year.

“We can’t answer them because we only have promises.”

The GAA’s Management Committee met last night where they were due to discuss the counties’ feedback on director general Páraic Duffy’s discussion paper on payments to managers.

The issue is also likely to be brought up at today’s Central Council meeting in Croke Park.

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