Waterford GAA’s financial travails were spelt out to delegates at Monday night’s County Board meeting in Dungarvan – with barely a mention of the Munster final venue row other than a comment about the paltry cut the Deise gets from big-match gate receipts.
County Treasurer Michael Hogan told delegates that the board has already spent €100,000 more this year compared to the same stage 12 months ago.
The Old Parish clubman said: “Last year, we spent €730,000 on our county teams and as of now we are more than €100,000 worse off than at the same time last year.”
Eastern Board Secretary Tim O’Byrne also warned that the county’s financial situation is “spiralling out of control.”
Board officers explained that Waterford weren’t on the same level playing field as its contemporaries in the province, all of whom have the means to generate far greater income through the hosting of major games.
The capacity of both Walsh Park and Fraher Field falls well below what is required to stage a Munster senior hurling semi-final or final.
After a lengthy debate on ways of boosting the board’s coffers, it was decided by 20 votes to 18 to impose a levy of €5, starting with the Munster Final, on all tickets sold for Waterford senior hurling games in the current year, subject to agreement coming from Croke Park. Delegates warned the County Board to expect a backlash against such a move once it got into the public domain.
During the course of the meeting the recent statement and apology the board issued in relation to the putative deal between Waterford and Tipperary and Cork was read out (see Sport page 14). It confirmed that the Waterford would have received €50,000 from their opponents for giving them home advantage in the decider. When questions were asked about the aborted agreement, County Board Chairman Tom Cunningham said “we are definitely not going down that road tonight.”
The Stradbally clubman did however point out that when Waterford played Cork or Limerick in the Munster final on July 11 next the Munster Council could take in a gate in the region of €1million, and of this the county board would get in the region of just €2,000–€3,000. This, he asserted, “cannot be right and it’s about time the Munster Council got its act together.”