Donegal says no to paying county managers

Donegal GAA has said no, in no uncertain terms, to the notion of paying football and hurling managers and instead favour the Association implementing its rules on amateur status.

Donegal GAA has said no, in no uncertain terms, to the notion of paying football and hurling managers and instead favour the Association implementing its rules on amateur status.

This was the unequivocal decision of the county’s governing body, the county committee ,at their monthly meeting in Ballybofey on Monday night.

The decision was taken after chairman P. J. McGowan sought the views of the meeting for a document on the thorny issue of paying managers, currently being discussed by the Association.

The chairman, along with leading officials from around the country and abroad, attended a special information meeting in Dublin recently on the document which has been compiled by director general of the Association Paraic Duffy.

And in a brief outline on the outcome of that meeting the chairman said basically it came down to three issues/proposals - (1) to continue with the current policy, whereby the Association is aware that its rules are being broken, but decides that this is tolerable; (2) to implement fully the Association’s existing policy, rules and guidelines on amateur status; and (3) to introduce a system of regulated payments to senior inter-county managers.

On a show of hands, the committee (with just one exception) voted unanimously in favour of implementing its existing policy on amateur status.

The only dissenting voice came from Setanta’s Danny Cullen, who felt that the current practice of alleged ‘under the counter payments’ should be legitimised.

The Donegal decision will now be reported back to Croke Park along with the views from the other 31 counties before a decision is made on the Association’s policy going forward.

The matter has raised its head down the years with a number of Presidents putting it on their agenda. But up to now, despite numerous stories of managers receiving large payments, little progress has been made on the issue and the matter is still a huge issue within the Association.

While it is understood there was some support for the proposal to legitimise payments to managers, with each manager receiving an annual fee of in the region of €30,000, the vast majority of those who attended last month’s meeting in Croke Park were believed to be very much in favour of the Association implementing its existing policy.

Current President, Christy Cooney, whose three year term comes to an end in April, has once again brought it to the top of his agenda and has pledged to have the matter sorted out once and for all before his term ends at this year’s Congress.

At a previous county committee meeting Donegal auditor for close on 40 years, Enda Bonner, stated that Donegal did not pay it’s manager and never had done so.