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11th Feb 2022

“The results are a bit distorted” – GAA won’t be giving back Government Covid funds

Lee Costello

“The results are a bit distorted because you’re looking at a financial year where we played two championships.”

The GAA look to be in a good place as they record a profit of €1.9m as government support of almost €30m helped them deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

At yesterday’s presentation of the annual report to Congress, however, director-general Tom Ryan said there was no plan to refund any of the revenue that the State had provided support for.

Ryan said the GAA’s finances through Covid had to be looked at in totality, with last year’s Central Council losses of €27.1m leaving a €25.2m burden over the two periods. “If you look at the burden that was suffered by clubs, provinces, counties and at national level over the last two years, I think that’s the metric,” he said.

“Oddly enough, the results are a bit distorted because you’re looking at a financial year where we played two championships. It would be a mistake to assume that all the financial problems that we had have been overcome.

“We still have a little bit of damage for a while to come. Make no mistake, we were very grateful for that support and we wouldn’t have got through without it but we made a case for it, a very careful case, and that case was scrutinised I’m sure and listened to. So what we got was based on a need and the need was genuine and the need is still there.”

The GAA’s director of finance Ger Mulryan suggested it could take up to 15 years to rinse that €25.2m loss through and said a small surplus could be retained annually in the future.

“Traditionally our model was to redistribute everything we take in back through our organisation. The repair work entails trying to retain a small surplus annually so it could be five, 10, 15 years before we can replenish that €25m.”

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