THE Carbery GAA Board will not fine teams who fail to field or who withdraw from competitions this season because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The powers-that-be in Carbery GAA also won’t fine clubs for the non-playing of league games, as they are conscious of the financial difficulties facing local clubs this year.
St James GAA Club has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to keep the club afloat after highlighting that it had only one month's funds left in their bank account following the cancellation of a number of fundraisers. St James hopes to raise €10,000 to cover all its expenses and bills for the rest of the year.
‘We still have electricity bills, water bills, insurance to pay – and all of this dwindles the money we have,’ St James chairman Niall O’Sullivan told The Southern Star.
‘We also have to repay the club loan at the rate of €740 per month. That’s the loan we got to finish the second pitch. Pitch maintenance is another expense and we have stopped sanding the pitch because we just can’t afford to, to be honest. The club was doing fine up to the pandemic and nobody could have foreseen what was going to unfold this year and how it would hit everyone.’
Carbery GAA Chairman Tom Lyons is aware that many clubs will take a financial hit this season with the loss of club lotto income, gate receipts and sponsorship revenue, so the Board will not impose fines on teams for failing to field teams, withdrawing from competitions or not playing league matches.
‘The CCC of the Carbery Board is aware of the difficulties clubs face at present as regards club finances, mainly due to the cancellation of club lottos which most clubs rely heavily on to keep their finances in the black,’ Lyons said.
‘We are also aware that many clubs are unable to organise their annual club fundraisers such as carnivals or golf classics.
‘There was also the added difficulty of club sponsors not being obliged to fund clubs this season because of the lack of matches.
‘The decision to hold championships should improve matters for clubs as it will keep sponsors on board and many clubs have now gone digital as regards their club lottos, running them through their club websites. etc. We would strongly advise all clubs to follow this lead.’
Lyons also added: ‘The hosting of championship games should also prove beneficial to clubs and the Board will endeavour to spread those games among as many clubs as possible.’
The Carbery chairman has also called on local communities to support their clubs during these tough times.
‘During the lockdown, clubs did a marvellous job in collecting funds for charities who were badly in need of support. We heartily congratulate all clubs on their marvellous contribution but it is now time for the community to show support for clubs who are in financial troubles, especially clubs who are trying to pay back bank loans every month,’ Lyons said.
‘We have no doubt clubs will come up with some novel ideas to raise funds between now and the end of the year, within Covid 19 restrictions. We appeal to all supporters to get behind their clubs in whatever fundraising schemes they employ.’
Carbery chairman Lyons also revealed that the Board’s coffers would have been down almost €50,000 if the 2020 GAA season was cancelled. It’s good news for the Board that the Carbery championships, which will take place in the coming months, as gate receipts will help alleviate some of the financial pressure.
‘The Carbery Board itself is not immune to financial difficulties,’ Lyons explained.
‘Most of the Board’s income comes from gate receipts and sponsorship. Had the GAA closed down for 2020 the Board would have lost in the region of €50,000. The running of the championship will now help to alleviate this problem but we expect a big drop in gate receipts, depending on numbers allowed to attend matches.
‘The Board executive is actively looking at means to reduce its own deficit for 2020 as well as helping clubs who are in serious financial trouble. We would ask these clubs to contact the officers with their problems.’