GAA moving into 'semi-professional structure' - Ringland

16 February 2017

Kilmacud Crokes club mates Paul Mannion and Cian O'Sullivan celebrate Dublin's All-Ireland final replay victory over Mayo.
©INPHO/James Crombie.

Former Irish rugby international Trevor Ringland believes the demands put on GAA players today is pushing the association towards a semi-professional status.

The former Ulster winger, whose playing career concluded before the sport turned professional, says deals like Dublin’s new partnership with a Japanese car manufacturer has altered the GAA to above amateur.

“I think at that stage they’re semi-professional, in reality,” Ringland is quoted saying in today’s Irish News. “The other dynamic in play is the other sports. Rugby and soccer are professional, so there’s that pressure within the GAA to hold on to its top athletes. That comes into the equation.

“When you’re giving somebody car and enhanced expenses and other support, you’re moving into a semi-professional structure.

“When I was playing rugby, if there were 10 people in rugby on the whole island getting paid, that was about the height of it. Now if you look at the hundreds of people who are employees.

“On one level it’s great that they (the GAA) are generating that income. But it does have a detrimental effect on clubs, and you need to make sure you’re continuing to invest in your game, and not just so that you maintain a professional structure.

“It’s developing it well so that people enjoy the sport, bearing in mind the ethos of the sport.”

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