Tony Bass, the chairman of Gaelic Games Europe, has revealed how the global health emergency has brought GAA activity across the 22 countries it represents grinding to a halt.
The Maastricht-based former Cuala clubman revealed some light at the end of the tunnel, however, with certain regions anticipating a return to action in the foreseeable future.
Bass, who has been living in the Netherlands since 2004, said the Nordic countries in particular are hoping conditions will shortly prevail to allow GAA clubs resume training and games locally.
The picture generally is a bleak one, however, with all 5,000 of GGE’s membership throughout the 94 clubs they represent currently inactive due to the Covid-19 crisis.
“The Belgians have declared their season over already,” said Bass from his Dutch home, which hasn’t yet been subjected to a full lockdown. “The Dutch hope to get back training around mid-June, if possible.
“We actually had a meeting the other night of the European management committee, just to compare notes from all the different countries, to see what’s going on really.
“On the positive side, we’ve a few clubs in Sweden hoping to get going again fairly quickly. There are clubs in Norway, two in Denmark, Odense and Copenhagen, and they’re hoping to pick things up too, similar in Austria.
“Germany isn’t as tied down as you might think, there are a lot of people still working, it depends on the region. Then you have the worst affected areas; Spain, Italy, France. So it’s a very complex thing, a lot of different countries at different stages of this and different approaches being taken.”
A separate meeting of health and welfare officers from clubs across Europe came up with around 40 different ideas to keep everyone linked in and connected during the crisis.
“One of the more interesting things to come out of it was that some clubs have started up language lessons,” said Bass.
“We’d have about a 50% non-Irish membership so you’d have people teaching English, Spanish, Franch, or whatever the case to other club members. I suppose these are all the things that spring up at times like this.”