Speaking at a midweek Puma sportswear photocall in Dublin, the All Star attacker said scheduling the Déise’s Munster championship opener against Clare for June bank holiday Monday (Thurles, 3pm) was “absolutely ridiculous”, adding that the timing of the U21 hurling series was also a “disaster” for senior squads.
“The GAA are thinking of TV revenue but they are not thinking of the players,” said Mullane of the Munster Council’s decision to fix the Clare game to suit RTÉ’s live coverage. “It’s bad enough waiting around until Sunday but to wait around an extra day … you have to think of work then.”
And, commenting on the fall-off in attendances already this summer, he added: “The ticket prices are absolutely crazy. You had the scenario last weekend with Waterford and Clare and people asked to pay €20 to go in… It’s Waterford and Clare now again next week [in hurling] and you have €30 tickets. How are they enticing people to go out and support teams?
“The GAA is an amateur sport. Why don’t they have amateur prices? The GAA is all about being family-orientated. Let’s try and help families in a recession, instead of charging these prices,” he argued.
With the Waterford Under-21s playing Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh next Wednesday, “preparation-wise, for us it is a total nightmare,” Mullane said. “We have eight or nine off the U21 panel and we will have them one night and not the next. To try and play training matches, that is just a total disaster. They need to start looking at everything.”
However, GAA spokesman Alan Milton said: “There hasn’t been an increase [in ticket prices] in four years and this recession only kicked in about two years ago, so it wasn’t like we were hiking prices up in the better times either.
“Things are tough now and they were last year too but, not only did our attendance figures hold steady in 2009, they actually increased by 4,000 on ’08 so there are obviously a lot of people who don’t agree with John.”
However, a lot more will, you’d imagine.