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EXCLUSIVE: CCCC chair says playing in Newbridge could cause "animosity" between fans

Ned Quinn, Chairman of the Central Competition Controls Committee (CCCC) joined Tuesday's OTB AM ...

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

11:24 26 Jun 2018



EXCLUSIVE: CCCC chair says pla...
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EXCLUSIVE: CCCC chair says playing in Newbridge could cause "animosity" between fans

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

11:24 26 Jun 2018

Ned Quinn, Chairman of the Central Competition Controls Committee (CCCC) joined Tuesday's OTB AM as the controversy over the decision to move Kildare's home fixture against Mayo to Croke Park this weekend intensified. 

The Kildare County Board released a statement on Monday insisting St. Conleth's Park in Newbridge was perfectly capable of hosting the match and insisted they would not be playing at GAA headquarters on Saturday. 

"Well the background to all games that are awarded home venues is that the CCCC have the authority that home venues shall be subject to approval of the CCCC and as you're aware also - all our grounds have safety capacity.

"So, in that context, the information before our meeting yesterday was that the safety capacity for the game, this game, in Newbridge would be 8,000," he told Ger. 

"When one subtracts the number of season ticket holders entitled to a ticket for the game - this figure further reduces to approximately four and a half thousand. 

"So, we were faced with the options of put these tickets on sale - on general sale, online - as we usually do or divide them equally between the competing counties - that's the four and a half thousand tickets and in either scenario it was felt that just over 2,000 tickets would become available to Kildare supporters as the vast, vast majority of the season ticket holders are from Mayo - I think there's approximately three and a half thousand. 

"So, the meeting felt that such a situation was tenable and could, if you like, lead to a substantial number of people without tickets turning up seeking admission to the game. We decided that this wasn't tenable - it was the prerogative of Kildare as the home county to nominate another ground but Kildare declined to do so. 

"So, in this case, the committee decided that due to the scenario I've outlined there to fix the game for Croke Park as part of a double-header. Cavan also had to forfeit their home fixture but they were agreeable to this and as you know - there have been other cases where games haven't been played on the home ground of the county, most notably Waterford, in this year's hurling Championship.

When pressed on the issue further, Quinn said: "We took the other view that Kildare, as I outlined, that Kildare supporters would have access to just over 2,000 tickets for a home game and I think if we were in that scenario - we would have other criticisms coming at the CCCC for not foreseeing that. 

"I fully understand that any county - Kildare in this case - would like to have their game at home but there's a bigger picture to be looked at and the CCCC took the view that in this instance that it would be better take the game and give Kildare the prerogative of nominating another venue in which they declined to do."

"I can only give you the facts that were presented to the CCC Committee yesterday, the committee are very experienced officials, have dealt with this situation and would 't be unmindful of what Kildare would like to have but we felt it was untenable in this situation with the likelihood, in a ground incapable of holding it - we could anticipate 20,000 spectators turning up and here we are with a ground of 8,000 with little over 4,000 going on public sale." 

Ger responded: "For example, the Gardaí in Newbridge feel confident of being able to deal with the fact that the Derby is on in the Curragh at 5.30 and for a 7 o'clock throw in - for the crowd that they expect would be fine - so their health and safety seems to have been that all the boxes were ticked on that and it seems that it's not really a health and safety issue so much as 'Kildare were only going to be able to have 2,000 home supporters' - it doesn't seem clear ultimately why the decision was taken?"

"Well the Derby scenario had no influence on our decision...All I can say are the rules and the rules say that 'the home venue shall be subject to approval by the CCCC' and in this instance we felt that was untenable to have the game here given that Kildare would possibly only have 2,500 or less if they went on general sale," Quinn replied.

"The logic of the decision was that, as I said already, one could anticipate a crowd of 20,000 for this game and there was going to be 4,000 of those tickets on sale between the two counties and to us, it meant that we move the game out of that venue in this best interests of all spectators - both Kildare and Mayo - and that's the decision we made and as I've said to you already - I can't add any further to that now.

Asked if there was a precedence in the GAA for this move in relation to a large number spectators turning up to a sold-out game without tickets, he said: "I'm just saying it was a possibility - I didn't say it would happen but it was a possibility that people are eager to see their own county and it was a possibility that people would turn up seeking to get admission or seeking to but tickets outside the ground even though they would have known tickets weren't available.

"The risk would be that people would get involved with other spectators - that's the risk. 

"Well I wouldn't describe it as crowd trouble but there could be animosity shown to people who had tickets if they couldn't get them and claiming they would probably be regular supporters of Kildare. I know where you're going with this Ger but as I said already, twice already, I cannot add any further to the decision that was made yesterday regarding this game," he added.  

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