With the announcement of AIG's big money sponsorship of Dublin's GAA team, Conor Deegan asks if such financial disparity is fair on other counties and what could the GAA do to level the playing field...
Maybe its not fair and the spread of wealth may need to be looked at. Maybe the weaker counties should be allowed to have a number of transfers per year (lots of good players in many strong counties who cant get game – let them play elsewhere); maybe there has to be a complete overhaul of the leagues and championships; maybe a cap on spending or maybe it's just the way it is...
The GAA is an amateur organisation but no matter how you try to break it down it needs money to survive at all levels and in all counties this a basic fact of any business and the GAA is no different.
Dublin have a new sponsor. Not really earth shattering news but it's the amount that has raised a few eyebrows and led some to ask the silly question of fairness. You see its not fair in many ways (large population, reduced travelling for players, playing at home regularly) but that is the way of the world and having a load of money guarantees nothing – it's how well it is spent that is important. With respect to Dublin, they seem to have their house in order.
The money that county boards raise is directly or indirectly put back into the clubs and its development squad. Not all of it of course because it costs a huge amount of money every year to prepare teams and the more successful the county the more it costs. It's that simple really.
The difficult part for all counties is how they can raise the money and Dublin at the moment seem to be doing it better than most. They've have won three All-Irelands in the last 18 years which for most other counties would be very acceptable but when you add in the hype that has surrounded them, they are always a story and a major cash cow for the GAA .The talk now is that they can dominate into the future. It is possible but that will be dependent upon the management, the players and their collective desire. If they do, it's because their structure is solid.They have spent the time,money and man-power to develop the underage structure and they are now getting some pay back for this.
That being said Kerry and Tyrone who along with Dublin have won nine out of the last eleven titles between them also appear to have a sound financial backing with the opening of Tyrone's new state of the art training facility and with Kerry having plans on the same it brings us to the point that maybe the strong will get stronger and the weak will fall further away fro success.
Its not always about money but there can be no doubt that the more you can offer your teams in way of training and preparation the better chance they will have. With clubs and counties struggling financially it would seem that those who are able to raise the most money will be at he business end of the season.
The big get bigger and the weak get left behind.
Follow Conor on Twitter – @DeegoGAA