GAA clubs are to be contacted by the association’s director general Páraic Duffy reminding them that the renting of grounds to rival sporting organisations is against general rule.
There are two legal cases pending against GAA clubs following injuries sustained by members of soccer clubs while availing of GAA facilities. In a bid to avoid pay-outs from the GAA’s insurance fund for occurrences which contravene the GAA rules, Central Council is keen to impress upon clubs that they must follow correct procedures.
“It was decided at the Ard Chomhairle meeting at Congress over the weekend to distribute guidelines to the clubs,” said Cork Central Council delegate Des Cullinane.
“It is a breach of general rule to rent out facilities to other sporting organisations, apart from those which would not be in direct conflict with the GAA. There are two cases ongoing and it’s important to make clubs aware of their responsibilities.”
He continued: “Anecdotally, we all know of a lot of seven-a-side soccer being played on astroturf at GAA clubs. Obviously, you can’t stop the renting of facilities to individuals or to a group, but the problem arises when it becomes a case of it being an organised training session. I’m only surmising, but you might have a soccer club advertising on its website that training is taking place at the local GAA club and obviously that is contrary to general rule.
“What I’d imagine happened is that there was a situation like that, a player got injured and sued the soccer club, who in turn extended that to the GAA club because there might have been a problem with the pitch or something like that. It’s something which is fraught with danger.”
Should the cases be successful, then it’s likely the GAA itself would have to pay up.
Cullinane added: “There’s a central insurance fund to deal with things like this, but it certainly wouldn’t be ideal to have it used regularly.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved