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SBD Global/August 22, 2012/Events and Attractions

GAA Is Taken To Task For Allowing IRFU To Use Grounds For Potential Rugby World Cup Bid

Former GAA Ulster Council Chair Micheál Greenan claims that the Gaelic Athletic Association "has prostituted itself by giving consideration to make more stadiums available to another sport," according to John Fogarty of the IRISH EXAMINER. The Cavan man was reacting to the Central Council's decision to ask Congress to make six grounds available to the Irish Rugby Football Union for a potential bid to host the 2023 or 2027 Rugby World Cups. However, he said that he "won't be attempting to convince Congress delegates to vote against the motion" in Derry next March. Greenan said, "No matter what I do now I’m going to be wrong, but as it transpired I was right. There’s not much point in me trying to do something about it because the people in charge of the GAA are promoting it. We have prostituted ourselves and the bottom line is when you have prostituted yourself for money, the people who make the money are not the prostitutes but the pimps." He insists that the GAA "have too many problems with football and hurling to allow another sport stage worldwide games in their grounds." Greenan added, "With all due respects, we have too much to be concerned about in our own games than promoting other ones" (IRISH EXAMINER, 8/21).

THE BIGGER, THE BETTER: The IRISH INDEPENDENT reported that despite the apparent attractiveness of an Irish bid, other countries like Russia and the U.S. would seem "to fit into the Int'l Rugby Board's increasingly aggrandising attempts to globalise their sport." Despite the immediate obstacles in the path of a putative IRFU bid to go it alone when the bids are due to be submitted by next February, it "would seem churlish for them to ignore such a mouth-watering opportunity." The IRFU are much further down the road in terms of accessing the necessary stadia with permission from the GAA, as well as ensuring the government guarantees the €100M ($124.6M) required by the IRB from successful hosts. However, the IRFU "must stump up all the costs for the visiting nations as well as the costs surrounding each match-day" -- it's only revenue comes from ticket sales, as the IRB "hoover up all broadcasting and commercial income." The only way that the IRFU can hope to make money, and for the government to recoup its investment aside from tourism, is through boosting ticket sales. Hence, "the bigger the stadia, the better," which is where the GAA come in (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 8/21).
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