The GAA's planned control over expenditure at county level will benefit the wealthier counties, according to the Irish Independent’s Colm Keys.
After the release of the GAA’s annual report this past week, there has been discussion surrounding the financial state of the association.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the GAA have been speaking to counties and county chairs over the last couple of months, warning of the losses that they expected to receive.
Speaking on OTB Sports Sunday Paper Review, Keys confirmed that the GAA had reported large losses.
“The financial elements to the GAA’s report is really the most interesting,” Keys said.
“There has been a crescendo to this; all year they have been briefing counties, they have been briefing chairs of counties and letting them know that our financial situation is not good.
“The final audit puts it at €34.1 million [in the red], and that is between Croke Park the stadium, the four provinces, and the 32 counties.”
Keys suggested that the majority of the deficit comes after Croke Park has been left idle for almost a full 12 months.
“The 32 provinces haven’t actually done too bad collectively - they have lost seven million,” Keys said.
“Croke Park - the stadium - has virtually been redundant; no crowds coming in, no commercial, obviously there was going to be no concerts anyway. So, the losses are heavy.”
The GAA's planned expenditure controls will benefit the wealthy counties
With the expected losses by the GAA in the year of COVID-19, the expenses had been generated centrally, meaning that all counties’ costs were controlled by the central GAA.
This meant that all county teams were reduced to 32 players, with 12 backroom staff members and set limits were enforced over other expenses.
Keys believes that this sort of central control could be furthered in the years to come.
“I would be pretty certain it will happen in the future,” Keys said. “I would think that the GAA are really trying to get control of this.
“They will pay directly for 32 on a squad, and a backroom of 12, and there will be set limits for post-training meal allowance, training, all of that. There will be set fees.”
In Keys' view, the wealthier counties would benefit as they could subsidise their player pools with their larger bank accounts.
“It will be up to counties to generate [the funds] if they want to keep a squad of 40 or 45,” Keys said.
“So, while there are benefits to this, it will suit the wealthier counties too, because they will be able to supplement the 32 with the costs of another 10 and add on to the backroom staff.
“The wealthier counties will be able to expand, and that is really why a review of contributions all around is required, so that those that cannot generate and aren’t self-sufficient get a greater share of the money.”