A host of issues relating to the sale of lands owned by sports clubs will form the centre piece of a conference to be held in Portlaoise this Saturday.

Titled ‘Moving the Goalposts,’ the conference, according to organisers William Fry (law firm) and Knight Frank (property developers) “will outline options and challenges that sports clubs face during the relocation process”.

Former Munster Rugby captain Mick Galwey will address the conference, as will John Hanniffy of Portlaoise GAA Club, whose club sold its grounds for €19million last year.

Speculation remains rife in Waterford that the County GAA Board may up sticks from Walsh Park and relocate to a custom-built facility at WIT’s new Carriganore campus.

But the downturn in the building business of late may keep such talk on the backburner for some time yet.

William Fry’s Commercial Property Manager Brian O’Callaghan believes that clubs seeking a stable flow of funding should consider using their grounds as an asset.

“Many sports clubs rely on membership funding, grants and fundraisers which can be unpredictable in terms of income each year,” he said.

“This can lead to old, run-down facilities and equipment. We will be advising attendees on the practical and legal issues they should consider if they were to put their land on the market.”

Knight Frank’s Stuart Walker said that while the market for sites was not as buoyant as last year, many sports grounds would pose an attractive opportunity for developers. 

“Many sports grounds are located on sites which would be attractive to both residential and commercial developers,” he stated.

“They are also often too small for the current club needs and a new, larger site is a more attractive option which can result in greater facilities and a higher membership, securing the long-term success of a club.”

Saturday’s conference, which is being held at Portlaoise’s Heritage Hotel, begins at 11am.



For further information on the conference, log onto www.williamfry.ie