Championship ties may be hit if North Tipp refs withdraw services

The Tipperary County Board are unlikely to be able to count on referees from their three other divisions to take charge of games in North Tipperary if match officials there decide to withdraw services.

Referees from the mid, south and west divisions are understood to be reluctant to help fulfil fixtures that their county colleagues had elected not to officiate.

The matter was raised at a meeting of the county’s referee chiefs on Monday night, although no course of action was decided on in the eventuality of a withdrawal occurring.

North Tipperary referees have contacted the county board requesting information on how they intend to pay them this year.

They will consider their options if they are not in receipt of it by next Saturday and the possibility of the first round of the North Tipperary championship being hit on Sunday week hasn’t been ruled out.

Last weekend, there were difficulties in finding referees for club games in the county, with some match officials having to take two or more games.

A number of referees in the county have already been unofficially informed by a social welfare inspector that GAA referees are regarded by Revenue as being part of the black economy. Others are more concerned about facing taxes on their match fees, while some are worried they mightn’t be paid until the end of the year.

The referees appear to be taking heed of the message from the Gaelic Match Officials Association (GMOA) about the taxation risk involved in accepting match fees. The GAA at central level continue to hold talks with Revenue officials about what, if any, tax and social welfare implications there are for referees. For the time being, they have stated existing arrangement between county boards and referees will continue. However, the GMOA have already been informed by the Revenue they “expect each individual in receipt of a payment from the GAA to adhere to their individual tax obligations for 2012”.

Although a new €13.71 match fee and 50c per mile mileage has been purported, the Revenue have also said they do not set any rules in how a sports organisation remunerates its match officials. Once the GAA gives written notification to referees on what rate they wish to propose as expenses the GMOA intend advising and consulting with them before formulating an appropriate response.

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