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Jarlath Burns condemns 'one-sided narrative' applied to GAA's Sky deal by pundits

A nominee for the role of GAA President, Armagh's Jarlath Burns shared his thoughts on the association's television deals. 

The source of some frustration for fans of Gaelic games, Jarlath Burns has rejected the notion that the GAA has questions to answer regarding their dealing with Sky Sports.

Nevertheless, the man hoping to replace John Horan as President of the association sympathised with those who feel aggrieved.

"The more I talk to people, the more I think this seems to be almost a tipping point for a lot of people," he said of the deal.

"[But] every year the GAA shows about 150 games live ... [and] 14 games are given to Sky, that is about 10%. I don't think there is an organisation that gives as many free-to-air games as the GAA."

Although Burns is of the opinion that all GAA games would be free-to-air in an ideal world, he condemned certain pundits working for RTÉ who were especially quick to share their displeasure with the deal.

"Let's look at the narrative behind this," he suggested, "and the narrative that I think the GAA at a particular level has been reluctant to reveal because you have to have a very strong relationship with your broadcast partners.

"Unfortunately, one of our broadcast partners have allowed a lot of its pundits to come out with a very one-sided narrative on this.

"Whenever the GAA did the broadcasting deal the last time and they had it all more or less wrapped up, they went to RTÉ and said, 'Look, we would prefer if all our games were free-to-air, why don't you buy this package for 14 games?'

"I'm not going to make any apologies for the GAA trying to get the best price that we can, but RTÉ said, and it was a very cordial conversation, that they don't have the funds to buy that package.

"So, it was either that Sky takes it, or nobody takes it. I'm not going to take any lectures from anyone in RTÉ about the GAA."

In a full and frank discussion about a number of issues that he would undoubtedly face if elected President, watch Jarlath Burns' full interview here.

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