Longford County Board are forecasting an end-of-year deficit of €300,000 as their gate receipts income is set to collapse following the Government decision to retain crowd restrictions at 200 people for outdoor events.
Longford County Board took in just under €150,000 last year in gate receipts, but they expect their gate income for 2020 to be approximately €110,000 less than the 2019 total.
All bar the semi-finals and final of the Longford football championship will be played while the current crowd restrictions are in place, meaning the board’s earning power per game is capped at €1,000 (€10 ticket x 100 spectators).
Longford’s 2019 gate income was among the lowest of any county last year and the sharp decrease this year will significantly impact the board’s day-to-day activities, including the financing of their flagship teams.
Longford county board recorded deficits totalling €130k and €140k in 2017 and 2019 respectively, but a prediction from one official is that the deficit for 2020 will run to €300k.
Similar forecasts have been made in a host of other counties this week as county boards stare down the barrel of an 85% drop in gate receipts from last year. Kerry county board treasurer Tom Keane expects their gate income to fall by over €400k, while Galway’s could drop by more than three-quarters of a million euro.
Elsewhere, Waterford’s juvenile GAA board has written to clubs in the county to call for an end to poor conduct at underage games from mentors and supporters. The board said that if verbal abuse of officials continues, there will be “serious consequences for the members and clubs involved”.
“We have seen a considerable increase in disciplinary issues arising on the field. With games coming day-on-day, pent up emotions can be carried to the field the next day or grievances can carry over. In the board’s opinion, much of this is emanating from the sidelines.
“Whatever the reason, referees are coming under considerable pressure from mentors and increasingly from supporters. This, in turn, may lead to decisions that some people will disagree with or will come at the wrong time or will appear unjust or may just be incorrect decisions, but this does not give people the right to hurl abuse at our officials. This is happening and it must stop.
“Players are obviously affected by this conduct as we have seen a rise in disciplinary issues on the field. This is reflected in the number of red cards and a substantial number of bookings during these games.
“Clubs have an obligation to control where supporters congregate at matches. Mentors have a responsibility to control themselves and speak calmly to officials.”
The letter continued: “This is a reality check for clubs. If this continues, one or more of our referees will abandon a match or matches. If that happens, there will be serious consequences for the members and clubs involved.”