GAA to cover clubs’ insurance for now

The GAA have agreed to delay the collection of insurance from clubs during the coronavirus shutdown.
GAA to cover clubs’ insurance for now
The coronavirus outbreak may have repercussions for the proposed redevelopment of Casement Park

The GAA have agreed to delay the collection of insurance from clubs during the coronavirus shutdown.

Croke Park have told county boards that they will cover the cost of clubs’ premiums until such time as the precautions are lifted and the units are back up and running.

The news comes as the GAA have administered what they hope will be temporary wage cuts for those employees that are paid either fully or partly by Central Council.

It is not envisaged that the reductions ranging from 10% to 20% will extend beyond April 30 and they will be refunded at a later date but it is not guaranteed.

This week, county boards were also due to receive a proportion of their gate receipts for the Allianz Leagues, believed to be five-figure sums, ahead of schedule. With nothing in the way of revenue being generated, it is expected that they will receive the remainder of those monies later this month.

Yesterday marked the deadline for membership. However, the GAA may yet allow clubs an extension to forward on registration fees until mid summer.

Clubs have also been reminded that as every GAA premises is officially closed claims via the player insurance scheme will not be entertained.

GAA clubs in the 26 counties have also been told they can avail of deferrals on their rates although they are being waived for March, April, and May in the North and will be reduced by 25% for the remainder of 2020.

Clubs in the Republic have also been reminded to forward their VAT returns.

“Revenue commissioners shall apply no interest or late payment charges for VAT for the January/February period.

"All VAT returns must continue to be submitted as normal and late payment shall not alter the club’s tax clearance status. All current Revenue debt enforcement has been suspended until further notice.”

Loan payments due to higher GAA bodies such as Central Council and the provinces are to be assessed on an individual basis, while clubs and counties have been told that there will be no central GAA funding provided for fresh capital projects.

There is deep concern that plans to redevelop Waterford’s Walsh Park, Navan’s Páirc Tailteann and Newbridge’s St Conleth’s Park may be impacted by the crisis.

In January, it was revealed the Waterford County Board would receive €3.75m in a government sports capital grant towards its €7m overhaul.

It was also announced Meath would receive €6.2m of taxpayers’ money towards the €45m cost of revamping Páirc Tailteann and Kildare would pick €4.875m to help pay for the €10m facelift of St Conleth’s Park.

There could also be repercussions for long-delayed reconstruction of Casement Park. The GAA had ringfenced £15m (€16.8m) for the Belfast stadium project but the cost of it has now reached £110m (€123.8m) and a further £33m (€37.1m) is required.

Having restructured Páirc Uí Chaoimh loan payments with Bank of Ireland only last year, Cork GAA may have to re-enter negotiations with the institution.

Although sales of assets and other agreements were expected to knock off €10m of what they owe, the board is in receipt of approximately €20m to Bank of Ireland and €10m to Central Council.

The GAA had also in the process of purchasing Clonliffe College for close to €100m, the first tranche of just over €22m being paid last year.

In December, the GAA sold on 19 acres to an international property group. There had also been plans to build a hotel and two 4G pitches.

Via conference call, GAA director general Tom Ryan informed those GAA employees that are fully or partially paid by Central Council that their wages will be reduced for April.

Although it is hoped they will be deferred rather than cut completely, there are no assurances as the GAA’s revenue streams dried up in the middle of March when the suspension of Gaelic games activity was called.

Anyone earning up to €38,000 will see their gross pay cut by 10%, while those on incomes between €38,000 and €76,000 will experience a 15% reduction. Any salary over €76,000 will contract by 20%.

As well as directors and employees in the various departments in Croke Park, several county secretaries will be affected by the loss. It is hoped that by showing an example provinces and counties might find it easier to follow suit.

Counties have also been informed of the Government’s emergency wage subsidy scheme in the 26 counties and the Revenue Customs funding in the six counties.

In the Republic, clubs who show 25% loss of income/trade can claim 70% of employees’ net wages up to a maximum of €410 per week, while in the North such workers can be designated as furloughed and 80% of their monthly gross wage can be covered up to £2,500 (€2,815).

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