Clubs fear ‘pay for play’ may arise

A growing number of club officials are concerned than in the future a pay for play situation could arise to keep clubs afloat.

With a small number of clubs already accepting donations on match days to help the every day running of their particular structure, could it ever be envisaged that some GAA clubs could go to the wall if the proper finances are not forthcoming to help cover the growing cost of their upkeep?

Recently the board of directors at Glenavon Football Club sent out an appeal to their fans to help raise much needed cash, so could the situation arise were clubs in Armagh would have to issue a similar appeal or no longer exist due to the lack of finance. It is generally understood that quite a number of county boards are struggling to make ends meet and clubs, it would appear, are no different. At this time of year players will be asked to dig deep to pay their membership which can range anywhere from between £20 and £50. Can clubs survive in the midst of a recession or will some be forced to amalgamate or close altogether? One local club official told the Mail recently that his club’s senior players rarely socialise in their own club premises.

Players however could argue that their clubs do little to facilitate their needs socially.

On many occasions at home matches some clubs take as little as £50 at the turnstiles and are forced to rely on the generosity of sponsors and donations from the local community. With club football becoming more professional, officials are under increased pressure to keep up to date on the needs of their managers who are attempting to implement best practice for their players.

Clubs will be encouraged on occasions to help raise funds for county structures particularly during prolonged periods of success on the field of play, Some clubs introduce season tickets for home matches which can provide revenue at the start of the season. Would the idea of ‘pay for play’ work or can clubs find new ways of introducing much needed finance to help them stay afloat?

GAA members who play Mid Ulster soccer for example would be well used to paying their way each Saturday when they line out for their respective clubs, so will Armagh clubs implement the same policy?

Will clubs always survive or will pay for play become the norm for every day club players - only time will tell.