Costs for county teams still rising
Wexford Chairman, Diarmuid Devereux, has warned delegates that the cost of participation at county level continues to rise with a significant reduction unlikely in the absence of national intervention.
While the Chairman claimed that increased cost burden will continue to eliminate counties from the elite group for the foreseeable future, adding, that the sad reality is that a similar pattern is now starting to emerge at club level.
He told delegates that this year Wexford competed in every championship and tournament available, that included Senior, Intermediate, Junior, Minor, combined colleges, Under-17, with four Under-15 and under-16 teams, along with four Under-14 and two Under-13 teams.
'The cost is high but again when measured against where we were four years ago so also is the progress made.
'Our dual status is a financial burden with every cost heading doubled and should current trends in relation to backroom teams, player entitlement, etc., continue then the sky is the limit.
'Of this we can be sure, unless something happens to reduce costs by way of national policy, the cost burden will continue to eliminate more counties from the elite group for the foreseeable future,' he added.
'Team costs which were once again covered by gate receipts are continuing to escalate out of control in all counties with any ambition for success, and the sad reality is that a similar pattern is starting to emerge at club level,' he added.
Mr. Devereux went on to warn delegates that there are too many inter-county competitions.
'There are too many inter-county competitions played over too long a season and, irrespective of ones own views, the system is simply unsustainable.
'Clubs are parked, with outgoing training costs, while inter-county competitions take precedence and the net effect is negativity.
'It is in this context, and allied to the issues surrounding player welfare, that radical proposals will be voted on by the County Board in early 2016.
'The main purpose of these proposals is to put player welfare and club games at the top of the G.A.A. programme in reality as well as in rhetoric.
'If implemented, a significant number of dates will become available for the running of club matches during the summer months and importantly allow for the completion of all county and club activity within one calendar year.
'This will have the net effect of longer breaks for players and a prolonged off season,' he said.
The main proposals are:
*Abolition of inter-county Under-21 football championship in favour of Third Level College competitions.
*Abolition of inter-county Minor in favour of Under-17.
*Abolition of inter-county Junior football championship.
*Abolition of inter-county Intermediate hurling.
*Bring forward All-Ireland finals and introducing replays.
*Under-21 hurling to finish in August ahead of Senior.
Mr. Devereux said 'taken as a package this will reduce inter-county adult competitions to the minimum and allow for a more progressive club championship year with club activity for once getting precedence.
'The most serious effect on the one calendar year fixture system will be the demise of the 'dual club' unless we get organised and act in the best interests of the county. Please discuss these at club level and feed back your views directly or via your county board representative,' he added.