Funding deal set to earn GPA €7.5m per annum

The GPA could make as much as €7.5m per annum from their new funding agreement.

It was yesterday announced the official players’ body will receive a minimum of €6.2m funding a year having agreed a framework deal with the GAA that will run between 2017 and ’19.

It marks an increase of €4.2m per year on their present interim agreement.

As part of that, the GPA are guaranteed a minimum of €2.5m from the GAA’s commercial revenue.

However, as they have secured a 15% slice of that pie from next year, they could actually pick up approximately €3.5m per annum as a new round of media rights are set to be agreed later this year.

The GAA are set to pull in considerably more in those deals with eir Sport and TV3 entering the race for championship tranches and RTE fancied to challenge TG4 for the Sunday league game package.

GAA officials have already stated they have not received what they believe is fair return for their rights.

Had the 15% deal been in place last year, the GPA would have received over €2.75m of the GAA’s total commercial revenue of €18.358m.

Conservatively, the GPA’s new deal is worth three-and-a-half times the current deal of €2m per annum. Along with the guaranteed core funding is an extra €1.5m per annum from central Croke Park coffers to supplement an increase in the mileage rate from 50c to between 62.5c and 65c per mile.

A total of €1.2m a year has been committed to players’ nutritional expenses, €800,000 for player services from the GAA-GPA’s commercial partnership, and €200,000 towards the surgical needs of former inter-county players.

Not surprisingly, GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell described the deal as a positive one for inter-county players.

“I think it’s a good day for players, without doubt. It elevates the players’ status to a new level. There’s a lot of practical support contained within this and I think very important is the input into policy decisions that affect players, that will be widely welcomed.

“Then obviously the commercial link, the GAA’s commercial success will be linked to our programmes. It is a significant step forward and a milestone, so, all told, players will be very happy with this.

“But we also think it’s significant for the GAA as well. It reflects the ongoing relationship that has been in place for the last number of years, which has given us a platform to build a partnership and work in tandem on issues that are important not just for the players but for the games themselves. Ultimately, it’s a win-win for everybody, we feel.”

GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail denied that the additional GPA funding will affect other areas of the association where money is needed.

“It shouldn’t affect our ongoing plans and budgets that are currently in place. This is an investment in the GAA and an acknowledgement by the GAA of the key role that our players make.”

GAA director general Páraic Duffy stressed the GPA’s cut of the commercial revenue could fall too.

“We think it’s fair for everybody if our commercial revenues grow or if they decline then, I think it’s very fair. It is different. We’re all very happy with that.

"I think the important point to make is that this document was put before Central Council on Saturday last , it was debated at length, every aspect of it and there was unanimous support for it, all aspects of it.”

Meanwhile, Kerry footballer Darran O’Sullivan has welcomed the increased mileage rate.

“The mileage increase is the big one because it was 50c and it is now gone up to 65c. That is obviously good because a lot of players are travelling a long way to training and what not.

"That will be a big help. Obviously, the more help players can get, the better the football championship is going to be. It is good to see something been given back.

"The GPA get a bit of stick but they are needed. I think, maybe, something is needed for club players as well. The GPA are trying to do the right stuff and they are working hard.”

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