GAA clubs in Mayo have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion which will attempt to stop payments to managers.
Delegates at last Wednesday’s County Board meeting in McHale Park, Castlebar were presented with the three options compiled by GAA Director General Paraic Duffy in his report on the issue of payments to managers.
The vast majority voted for Option Two, which calls for rigorous enforcement of the existing rules on amateur status in the GAA, and the establishment of a registration and audit board in Croke Park to police the situation.
Only two clubs — Davitts and Garrymore — voted in favour of Option 3, that payment to managers are allowed, while Option 1, that the status quo continue, was not put to the floor after nobody spoke in favour of it. A number of clubs were also absent on the night.
Mayo GAA Board Vice-Chairman Mike Connelly spoke strongly in favour of stopping perceived payments to both inter-county and club managers.
“We can’t afford to pay managers, that’s the end of the story,” said Connelly.
“Clubs must take stock. Virtually every club is struggling with finances and they must look within their ranks to find a manager. The payments thing is gone a little bit crazy. So many of us put our own time and effort into this organisation on a voluntary basis because we want to grow the organisation.
“I was involved in interviews for the appointment of the Mayo manager before last [John O’Mahony] and none of the people we spoke to mentioned money, they wanted to do the job for one reason alone, to win the All-Ireland. People will always put their name forward to manage teams because they do it to win, not for money.”
Board Treasurer JP Lambe said he had attended a meeting at Croke Park on the matter in recent weeks, along with other county board officers from around the country.
He told last week’s meeting that the suggestion was made at Croke Park that sometimes too many training sessions were being held in order to make up enough expenses for players and managers when one session during each week would be enough.
Davitts delegate Seán Higgins argued that the effort managers were putting in deserved some level of recompense.
“The amount of time that managers are putting in now is a lot. I don’t think we’re talking about a huge sum of money [to allow payments to managers]. It will be just enough to adequately compensate them for their time. People are taking weeks off work sometimes to prepare the team they manage,” he said.
Garrymore GAA club’s Peadar Higgins said that nothing is said about payments to doctors or physiotherapists. He argued that payments to managers should be regulated and no manager should be out of pocket.
County Board Chairman Paddy McNicholas said in response that physios and doctors were paid because it was ‘very important’ for player welfare that players were looked after by professional people.
Kilmovee Shamrocks’ Danny Kelly said that his club struggle as it is and they couldn’t afford to pay a manager. Their manager must come from within their own club, he added.
Ballyhaunis delegate Padraig Regan said that if payments to managers were sanctioned, it could set a very dangerous precedent for going ahead with payments to inter-county players.
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