The GAA has warned that the cost of staging the football and hurling All-Ireland championships this year will “impact the Association financially for years to come”.
n a stark bulletin, issued on Friday by the finance director Ger Mulryan to provincial councils and county boards, the GAA estimates the inter-county championships will cost €19.5m and stated that the financial implications of the pandemic put a growing reliance on Government aid and increased borrowings.
The letter referred to “a suite of financial supports and control measures” to support players, teams and county boards in anticipation of the championships taking place. But Mulryan says it is a cost the GAA “cannot take lightly”, adding it will lead to “reduced capital, coaching and operational grants across all our units” in the coming years.
To make the championships financially viable, with crowds prohibited from attending matches, the GAA is looking at additional bank borrowings. The proposals go before the Management Committee on Friday next for ratification. The details are not being revealed until then, but it is claimed that they take account of “feedback” received over recent months.
Croke Park, the communication also revealed, is “fully engaged” with Sport Ireland and submitting applications under three of the four headings to the Government’s €70m rescue fund for sport. Those being targeted include a €40m fund to assist the three main field sports’ national governing bodies, the €15m fund to support those bodies’ affiliated clubs and the €5m to support sport restart and renewal plans.
The application date deadline is September 15, with an expected announcement of grant funding in mid-October.
Croke Park says it will create and administer a ‘Club Support Grant Scheme’ for all clubs based on the funds awarded under the clubs grant scheme. This will be supplemented by borrowings.
It stated that in common with “each and every unit of the GAA” the Croke Park head office income streams have been reduced to “almost zero” over the past six months.
“The number one financial priority to date has been to introduce significant cost-saving measures to ensure we remained in a stable position with the ability to provide the various head office support functions to all our units and equally important to maintain the GAA’s current and active coaching networks across the island.”
The letter also touches on the “ever-increasing financial challenges” that await in 2021, noting that pandemic-related restrictions are likely to continue into next year.
The €40m grant fund will need to cover not just the year’s shortfalls for the GAA at national, provincial and county level, but also be part of a “much contracted 2021 budgeted spend”.
“It is intended to reintroduce and advance the 2021 operational grant as early as possible in 2021 to allow counties plan and forecast accordingly,” Mulryan added.