The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA)
is the sporting organization in Ireland that represents all Gaelic Games played
in Ireland and abroad with more than 500,000 members internationally. With the
rise of Gaelic games popularity, this report will highlight how it’s essential
to give players that represent their county at the elitist level within the GAA
a basic wage.
Given the demands put on players these
days, to be involved at the inter-county level it has become a professional
sport. The money being the only thing keeping it under the label of an amateur
sport. There must be a change and the players need more support, or it will
quickly get out of hand and the GAA will lose even more players to other
sports. Players representing their county can be training up to 10 months of
the year. While there is a winter rule in place where it states no county,
teams can train over winter months this is repeatedly broken as counties have
to maintain an elevated level when competing with other counties. These players
could be working in cities and have travel home up to three times a week not
only putting a serious strain on their work lives but a serious stress on their
welfare. It can be seen why that many county players consist of a lot of
students or teachers these days. Many players holding full-time jobs have had
to opt out of playing due to it not being realistically feasible.
People may argue that the amateur
ethos central to its survival as it would lose its sense of community spirit
that is so unique to the GAA, but people must see it is a Professional sport.
Elite players are putting their bodies on the line as they do not just turn up
to play. They have multiple trainings in a week, numerous gym sessions and
their diet must be impeccable to maintain their bodies and prevent burnout
which is an occurring issue in GAA. If you look at sports like Rugby or
Cricket, you can see everything about the GAA shouts out professional sport as
there doing the same or even more than some other professional sports.
The GAA is operating to a broken model
and the players deserve more than this. The GAA has assets of more than 2.6
Billion while the players representing their counties currently get a pitiful
grant of less than €1,000 a year for their efforts. Compare this to the
president of the GAA gets around a hundred thousand euros per annum. Without
the players, there be no GAA, so it must be considered that they introduce
basic wage to these players.
This has is a major issue for the GAA
because young talent has chosen the discipline in which they will earn a salary
rather for the love of the sport. It’s an easy choice for these young stars.
Would you rather get paid for playing rugby and soccer or train multiple times
a week risking your welfare? It must change sooner rather than later.