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Ryan sounds warning over team spending

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Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan in attendance during the GAA/Croke Park Financial Reports and Director Generals Annual Report Media Briefing at the GAA Museum in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan in attendance during the GAA/Croke Park Financial Reports and Director Generals Annual Report Media Briefing at the GAA Museum in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Ard Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan in attendance during the GAA/Croke Park Financial Reports and Director Generals Annual Report Media Briefing at the GAA Museum in Croke Park, Dublin. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

GAA Director-General Tom Ryan has become the latest high-ranking official to sound a warning over rising expenditure in the running of teams.

Ryan has confirmed in his annual report that the overall figure is now €29.74m, an €11.6m increase on 2018.

He said that he was "hesitant" to introduce rules and spending caps because of a poor track record in trying to rein in county teams.

Ryan wrote that counties were managing to continue funding county team operations, but he questioned what the cost would be down the line.

"Quite apart from being sustainable, it is not desirable. Yes, counties will invariably secure the funds they need, but at the cost of immense pressure on the officers," he predicted.

"This outlay represents a huge proportion of our collective resources. So the other unseen cost is all of the other GAA plans in a county that are foregone or neglected - coaching, club support, facilities and so on.

"The origins of these costs are many. The scale of professional expertise engaged with teams is ever-increasing, and the size of panels similarly. There is a responsibility at national level, too, with the extent of the inter-county season.

"The solution may well lie with rules and spending caps. I am hesitant only because our track record with similar rule-based enforcement around county teams is mixed.

"The solution has to start with a collective recognition that we take collective responsibility and start to reverse the trend now.

"Pressures abound too because of the imperative on us to provide playing facilities, and to maintain them.

"Financial planning is a critical part of a major infrastructure development or for the day-to-day operations of a county, and budgeting is an integral part of that."

Ryan suggested that future funding could be linked to performance, if budgets are not adhered to.

"County budgets are only beneficial if they are realistic. The budget should be approved by the county committee, distilled down to team level and performance tracked against it," he outlined.

"Performance against budget will need to become one of the measures by which a county is assessed, and perhaps even funded."

Ryan also touched on governance, which he noted was a topical subject in Irish sport during the year.

"Governance can mean many things, but in simple GAA terms it means not just doing the right thing, but doing things right," he wrote.