The GAA has warned season ticket holders they will have their accounts cancelled should they be found to have behaved fraudulently.
The association yesterday contacted season ticket holders to inform them county boards have been given a directive to note the account numbers that have been used in illegitimate behaviour such as an adult gaining access on a juvenile pass.
The ticket office has also instructed units to be vigilant about those supporters who turn up with more than one season ticket so that attendances can be recorded for ticket access later in the year.
The email reads: “With the 2017 Allianz Leagues having commenced in both codes the GAA Ticket Office would like to draw attention to some issues that have been witnessed by the GAA Ticket Office staff and also have brought to our attention over the opening two weekends.
“The presentation of multiple season tickets cards or tickets for scanning at turnstiles in order to falsify attendance records for non-attending Season Ticket holders is strictly prohibited.
“Adults will not be permitted entry to a fixture using a Juvenile (U16) GAA Season Ticket card at Match Days venues.
“Similarly, GAA Season Ticket holders are not permitted to enter a ground using a Season Ticket card and then exit a ground in order to try and re-enter using a different GAA Season Ticket card.
“We have witnessed such incidents and have also been informed by County Boards, and by fellow Season Ticket holders that these types of incidents have occurred at multiple venues over the past two weekends.
“The above practices completely undermine the entire Season Ticket product and also undermine the GAA Season Ticket Holders who have travelled, some of them huge distances, to attend a particular fixture.
“We have issued a directive to all County Boards to note the details of any Season Ticket cards which are abused in this manner. If a GAA Season Ticket card within an account is found to be used in any of the aforementioned ways, we will have no option but to cancel all Season Tickets within that account.”
A season ticket entitles a fan to attend all Allianz League games in their code as well as the county’s first championship fixture and the All-Ireland senior club finals. However, they must attend 60% of their county’s games to qualify to purchase a ticket should they reach an All-Ireland senior final. For example, Dublin’s season ticket holders would have had to attend eight of Dublin’s 14 league and championship games prior to last year’s All-Ireland final.
A number of season ticket holders have reacted to the email with anger. Mayo supporter Anne-Marie Flynn tweeted: “No-one but @officialgaa would have the gall to address their most loyal customers with an email like season ticket holders just received.”
Issues with scanning season ticket cards have been cited by supporters in the past, while some holders on social media have highlighted a lack of responsiveness from the GAA regarding complaints and queries about the loyalty system.
Meanwhile, one of the All-Ireland senior club finals is likely to be played as a standalone fixture on St Patrick’s Day should Slaughtneil also reach the hurling decider on Saturday week.
The Derry side overcame St Vincent’s to make their second football final in three seasons where they will hope to become the first team from the county since Ballinderry in 2002 to claim the Andy Merrigan Cup.
There they’ll face Dr Crokes but their hurlers could emulate that feat should they beat Cuala in Saturday week’s All-Ireland semi-final. In the 46-year history of the All-Ireland club SHC, no Derry side has qualified for the final.
Should that happen, the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) may stage either the football final or the hurling decider, where Ballyea await opposition, later in March.
The GAA yesterday would not discuss the possibility of Slaughtneil reaching both finals. However, the association’s director of games administration and player welfare Feargal McGill said: “If that happens, we’ll communicate where we’re at then.”
Dr Crokes, however, understand they will be lining out on St Patrick’s Day and have received no communication to the contrary from Croke Park.
In a gesture of goodwill to the Ulster champions, Cuala already agreed to push back their clash, which was set to take place last Saturday week. Slaughtneil’s senior teams share 20 players and nine regular starters.
Last week, Slaughtneil’s Chrissy McKaigue, who starred in Saturday’s semi-final win, said the CCCC should have postponed the fixture instead of it falling on the Dublin side to agree to moving it.
The club’s senior camogie team are also in the shake-up for All-Ireland honours – they face Sarsfields of Galway on March 5.
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