McCartin urges Croke Park to continue funding player travel costs

Croke Park can do something practical and hugely beneficial to many counties if they continue to cover most of the travel costs of inter-county players, believes Leitrim GAA County Board Treasurer Martin McCartin. and he urged the GAA to continue paying for the Covid era into the future.

With Leitrim GAA just one of the many counties recording a surplus for the year on their finances, you would be forgiven for thinking that the GAA benefited from the pandemic but it was Croke Park’s decision to take over the payment of the players’ travel costs which had a huge impact across the country.

Speaking to the Leitrim Observer, the treasurer of Leitrim and Connacht believes that the continuation of the program would have a huge impact on many counties: department further away from the capital.

“The counties furthest from the capital must be better supported in this regard. If the Central Council were to take the 80% it would be a huge burden on the Leitrims, Sligos, Mayos, Roscommons – I know we pushed this for a while but we would be hopeful it would come into effect within the year. future.

Martin believes the GAA decision to fund player travel expenses during Covid restrictions is evident in the finances of many county councils: “Looking at the conventions that have taken place, most counties seem to be running surpluses. and that relates to the mileage taken off, the 80% mileage is huge.

“Most counties cut spending during this time. As you can see in our team administration costs this year, they are much reduced but with a shorter season. We don’t want to be the county telling players we can’t give it to you because we don’t have the funds to back it up – we want to be as good as all the other counties and these funds, they can be small in other countries, but they are important to us.

With Covid measures likely to be in place for a while, county councils will struggle to cut costs as players can’t carpool on their way to practice, so Martin thinks Croke Park should step in to cover the costs: “We were in a shorter season this year and you can see we had € 71,000 in mileage and we only had to take 20% of it while Croke Park has took 80%.

“With Covid still around us, we cannot force carpooling, which we manage quite well before, but this figure for trips could effectively double in the normal season if carpooling were not the case. Until Covid, the central council was subsidizing 15 cents a mile, Leitrim County Council and all other counties had to find the balance. “

The scale of fundraising needed to keep all of Leitrim’s teams on the road is enormous, with Martin revealing that player travel costs amount to almost € 5,000 per week for Leitrim: “Based on figures from last year, and we did a national level analysis, looking at each county and our costs fall into the category of around $ 5,000 per week, just for mileage, so that’s huge. If we have to pay this directly, it’s huge.

“It fluctuates from year to year, depending on where your panels come from, but in fairness to Leitrim it has been pretty consistent over the years. We probably have one or two in Galway, we have a few in Limerick, we had one in Belfast last year but the vast majority of the players are in Dublin.

Removing the burden of player travel costs from the county council is something practical that can be done to help all counties: “It takes a serious burden off the council at a time of year when we have very little income. . This pressure was removed during Covid and we urge them to continue this funding model.

“All of our spending is at the start of the year when we don’t have a lot of income and that’s when we need it most. This is something practical that could be done for smaller counties that are struggling to generate income. “

With the Leitrim County Board of Directors building heavily on the success of the Leitrim Supporters Club and new initiatives over the past year, such as the Win a Wedding raffle and the 50 Miles fundraiser in January, Martin has also paid tribute to all those who work so hard to raise funds. to keep the show on the road.

“If you look at our accounts, we don’t have a lot of sources of income. We have our sponsors who support us religiously every year, but if you look at it, we really only had our Supporters Club and our doors every year. The two big fundraisers in 2021, the Win a Wedding and the 50 Mile Challenge, brought in significant funds for Leitrim, it was huge in a year the season had been shorter.

“I said at last year’s convention that we needed to raise more money and to be fair to the Dublin Supporters Club they gave us the idea through Adrian O’Flynn and it was a huge success. We have to thank Lough Rynn for their sponsorship with Win a Wedding which has been another huge success online.

“We had a net worth of € 150,000 from these two fundraisers and our fan club kept the same value as well as our doors, which are our other main source of income.”

Martin also revealed that the county council had used the government subsidy program for employers: “Government funding has been started for our staff and we would like to get out of this situation, we want to get back to normal but it gives us a nudge to start the year that we’re not looking over our shoulder until we’ve sorted out some of the costs.

Speaking at last Monday’s convention, Mr McCartin told delegates the county council recorded a surplus of € 317,344 for 2021, with the fan club raising € 100,388, with the winning marriage draw paying off. € 83,551, the 50 Miles campaign in January € 87,542 and New York supporters contributed an additional € 17,339 to the 50 Mile in January.

“The two new fundraisers, Win a Wedding and 50 Miles in January, have provided a huge boost to our finances. I said last year that we need to raise more money to keep the show on the road and both of these fundraisers have been a phenomenal success and I urge all of our clubs to support the 50 Miles challenge in January this year.

The success of these campaigns has enabled the Board of Directors to offer Supporters Club discounts to clubs as well as sharing of exit receipts from club championship matches, which, he said, “helped a lot of clubs in these difficult times.

With a total income of € 1,106,435, fundraising brought in € 293,428 while box office revenue brought in € 39,574, a figure that does not include revenue from club matches held in October as the figures relate to an 11 month period following a decision by Croke Park to move the fiscal year end to September in order to allow counties to complete their accounts and audit in time for the annual convention.

Mr. McCartin thanked all the companies that have financially supported Leitrim GAA in these difficult times and urged everyone to support them.

He also paid tribute to the various team leaders and their management teams, noting that Leitrim had “one of the lowest, if not the lowest, team administration costs in the country”.

Asked by Sean McGovern why the team’s administration costs have dropped so significantly, Martin said Croke Park paid for player travel costs and the shorter inter-county season helped to reduce costs.

Team meals and catering have increased from € 52,975 to € 38,701 in 2021, while team management and coaches expenses for the senior, U20 and minor teams and the senior hurling team have increased. from € 80,872 to € 48,664. Martin added that player travel costs accounted for 30% of the team’s general administration costs, while the figure for counties closest to Dublin was between 10 and 15%.

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