BRIAN LOWRY: Are you better off with no one at games than letting in 100 people?

Brian Lowry

Reporter:

Brian Lowry

Email:

brian.lowry@leinsterexpress.ie

BRIAN LOWRY:  Are you better off with no one at games than letting in 100 people?

The numbers just don't add up for the GAA

Are you better off with no one at games than letting in 100 people? That is a question that has been going around in my head for the last few days.

The government recently announced that the Country will not be moving on to phase four of the covid-19 plan and the implications from a sporting perspective are disastrous.

Laois GAA were banking on having 500 people in O'Moore Park for their senior championship games starting at the end of the month and as bad as that would have been for their financial well being, the number will now be down to 200 people following the announcement that phase four has been postponed until August 10.

Laois would have expected to take in over 300,000 euro in gate receipts this year but the likelihood now is that they will be lucky to get close to 100,000 euro.

The big problem now is that figure of 200 allowed to attend an outdoor event includes absolutely everyone attending and it's an even bigger kick in the gut to Laois GAA considering they play all their Senior championship games in their 25,000 capacity stadium, O'Moore Park.

Take for example the opening round of the senior hurling championship between Camross and Borris-Kilcotton on Thursday June 30.

An opening round championship match is normally something to be excited about but how are clubs or County Boards for that matter going to decide who should be in the select 100 that attend the match.

I say 100 people and that is based on the figures below that I have estimated.

50 players. (The two teams involved will have panels of say 25 players)

♦ 5 backroom staff each (manager, two/three selectors and a Physio/Doctor)

♦ 8 refereeing officials – (Referee, four umpires, two linesmen and a fourth official)

♦ 7 media (this is an estimate between all local outlets and includes photographers)

♦ 10 stewards (estimate between turnstile operators, programme seller and general stewards)

♦ 12 Club and County Board officials (estimate for club chairmen, secretaries, PRO's and County officials).

All those combined come in at 97 and allowing myself a margin or error and to round up, you have 100 people before a single supporter passes through the turnstiles.

Its a given at this stage that a ticketing system will have to be in place but how will that work. Will the County Board put them up online through a ticketing platform or will they be issued through the clubs? Nothing has been decided yet but there are major headaches associated with both.

An online system from the County Board will be on a first come, first serve basis and depending on your access to the Internet, getting tickets will be a lottery.

Going through the clubs would also be a nightmare for the clubs. Imagine getting 50 tickets for your championship opener and having parents of players, lotto sellers, sponsors, former players and general supporters on looking for tickets.

How does a club tell someone that is potentially a huge servant to the club that there is no ticket there for them.

Tipperary and Westmeath are two Counties that have gone down the online route and in a way it takes the pressure off the clubs when it comes to deciding who gets the tickets.

From a club point of view and if say Camross and Borris-Kilcotton were given 50 tickets each for their game on Thursday week, the only viable option for the club would be to run a draw for them and ask people who want to attend to put their name down.

This is what happens in most clubs for All Ireland final tickets. You put in your name and two people are drawn out at random.

It's a sad state of affairs that this is what it might come too but in fairness to the GAA, their hands are tied and are adhering to the government procedures.

If I was a club official, I'd rather have no tickets than have 50 as the fall out and disappointment locally wouldn't be worth it.