McGee says report not ‘anti-manager’

Eugene McGee yesterday insisted that the GAA’s Football Review Committee (FRC) Report is not “anti-manager”.

The committee’s chairman was at pains to stress the positive role played by coaches and managers in the development of the association, particularly those on the inter-county scene.

But he also spoke about the inordinate influence that the body has wielded in modern times.

Inter-county managers played a major role in the abandonment of the yellow card experiment in 2009, for instance, but the very first of the 18 proposals in yesterday’s charter was aimed squarely at reducing the power of those men who patrol the sidelines.

Under Proposal 1, it will be each county’s Central Competition Committee (CCC) rather than the county boards who will have the last say on fixtures and it is hoped that this will end the current state of affairs where coaches and managers routinely lean on their boards or postpone or cancel club fixtures with logistical and personal consequences for hundreds of players and their families.

“We’re not anti-manager,” said McGee, chair of the FRC. “Managers have evolved and they’re very much part of the scene. They do a great job in an awful lot of places, club and county, and nobody can deny that.

“We just want to spell out little small things that we feel annoy the rank and file GAA person, either a player or spectator. It’s not Einstein stuff.”

That said, it has also been proposed that the existing Manager’s Charter becomes a formal agreement, one that is to be submitted to Croke Park every January and which officials in HQ will reserve the right to audit as they see fit in order to protect club and county players alike. Though every proposal forwarded yesterday would have some impact on coaches and managers, there were three centred specifically on team leaders and the third was a suggestion that mandatory coaching qualifications be introduced over a phased period of time.

By 2015, it is envisaged that anyone with ambitions of taking over a team at adult club and county levels would require some sort of certificate.

Paraic Duffy admitted that such a move could reduce the amount of ‘outside’ managers but that was not forwarded as the prime motivator.

“It is one of the great anomalies,” said McGee. “There is no inter-county manager I am aware of and very few club managers that actually have coaching certificates. Coaching has been going on 30 or 40 years actively in the GAA and we have at least as sophisticated a coaching system in Gaelic football as any game of football around the world. You could cover the road from here to Longford with (people who have earned) coaching certs in the last 30 years and the vast majority never get the chance to coach a senior club team or at inter-county level so there is something radically wrong. It would be setting a good example if you couldn’t be involved with a county team unless you had a coaching qualification. I don’t think you can be involved with even the lowest team in English soccer without what they call a coaching badge.

“Jim McGuinness couldn’t take over Celtic in the morning because he hasn’t got a coaching certificate.”


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