GAA to revisit controversial payment for managers issue

THE issue of payments to inter-county managers will return to the top of the GAA agenda next month when Director General Páraic Duffy publishes a discussion document on the controversial matter.

The Monaghan official accepted, in his annual report last March, that there was evidence to suggest managers were receiving payments beyond those permitted by the Association.

“Because it’s an issue or perceived as a problem, it’s something we have to address.

“All I am going to do is lay out what I feel are the issues and come up with some ideas. It’s a discussion paper. It’s not for me to decide. It’s for the Association to decide what way they want to go. I think it’s an issue people want to address. I will produce the paper and it will be a matter for people to decide what way they want to go.”

The inter-county season may have been put to bed but it is business as usual for those in Croke Park’s corridors of power with the draw for the 2011 championships taking place tonight and preparations in full swing for the upcoming International Rules. Also on the ‘to do’ list right now are the latest contracts for TV rights which Duffy expects to be signed off next month. One thing is already certain and that is the fact that there will be less championship matches screened live under the new deal.

“We would be anxious to get the TV all sorted as the first priority. After that we can focus on the sponsorship and bringing it to an end. We are talking to a number of companies. We’ve had this challenge before.”

Meanwhile, the traditional September walk up the Hogan Stand steps looks set to survive as both Duffy and Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna officials gave the tradition their backing yesterday.

The Association had planned to make pitchside presentations of the Liam MacCarthy and Sam Maguire cups in 2009 as part of their plans to curb pitch incursions but that now seems to be off the agenda for the foreseeable future.

“The reaction we got was that the players want the Hogan walk-up and it worked well,” said McKenna.

“Lets keep a lot of the tradition and avoid the tradition which has health and safety consequences.”

The retention of the Hogan Stand presentations will no doubt go down well among traditionalists, many of whom have already lamented the steps taken to prevent pitch incursions at Croke Park.

The GAA is hoping to ape that stance in grounds around the country in the years to come but the recently constructed barrier in front of Hill 16 has created anger amongst a large section of the membership. Visibility issues remain although McKenna said they will decrease as the Perspex gradually loses its shine and the hope remains the structure can be dismantled entirely in a few years, once fans become accustomed to the new policy.

“Nobody wants to see a fence,” said Duffy. “If we can live without it, the sooner we can, the better.

“It’s not going to be there for the full (2011) season either. We’re going to take it down. We only need to have it there for the finals. We’ll be looking at taking it down for the start of the year anyway. It’ll be open plan for the most part of the year.”

McKenna revealed yesterday that the ground has saved “hundreds of thousands” of euro by measures taken such as reducing the amount of water used on a daily basis by 312,000 litres and recycling up to 50% of its waste.

Meanwhile Mickey Harte last night urged the GAA to reinstate the Interprovincial Championships and abandon the International Rules series. The return of the series between Ireland and Australia after a two-year break has coincided with a decision to suspend the interpros, a move that angered Harte. “We sideline the Railway Cup this year while that (International Rules) is on. To me that’s adding insult to injury,” said Harte.

Paddy Heaney is on holidays. His column will resume next week.


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