by Anthony Hennigan
Mayo GAA clubs are being asked to pay levies for property insurance, public liability cover, and membership of the association despite the drastically reduced ability of many clubs to fundraise during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Clubs have yet to play any league or championship football or hurling this year and it remains to be seen when, if at all, that will change. But in a letter distributed to them on Sunday evening, Mayo GAA secretary Dermot Butler outlined how the County Board had received a directive from Croke Park ordering the collection of levies and said how it was “important, even in these extraordinary times, that we ensure all potential risks to our properties are covered”.
Mayo GAA had suspended levies that were due for March and April and says it will continue to suspend those due for competitions that have been unable to begin, but it is proposing to spread the collection of the rest of the levies over May, June, and July.
“The income of Mayo GAA, like so many others, has encountered a sudden drop across a number of levels,” said Dermot Butler who also said the County Board had carried out an extensive review of its financial affairs in recent weeks, and did so working closely with Croke Park.
“Notwithstanding the decline in income, Mayo GAA requires itself to be financially viable in order to emerge from the current situation and to be functional when games and activities resume,” said the secretary.
Mayo GAA’s executive committee has proposed a range of measures to try and help the Board and its clubs adapt to the challenge that social distancing has imposed on the ability to raise money.
With door-to-door selling of tickets for the 2020 Mayo GAA Club Development Draw not currently possible, measures are being put in place to enable clubs sell e-tickets to their members across a number of electronic platforms. In addition, because so many GAA members have seen their incomes reduced during the coronavirus crisis, the €100 tickets will be available for purchase in instalments.
The quota of tickets each club must sell has been reduced by five this year and once the quota is reached, the excess funds generated by extra sales will be transferred back to the club on a weekly basis. And to give clubs a better opportunity of generating maximum sales, the Club Development Draw now has a longer lead in, with two draws per month taking place in September, October, and November.
For most GAA clubs in Mayo, local lotto draws represent their best avenue of fundraising but uptake has been decimated due to the enforced closure of so many businesses where tickets would have been sold and because of social distancing measures. However, mayogaa.com is to publish links to each club’s online lotto, which Mayo GAA will promote through its social media channels.
Dermot Butler expects the effects of the current situation will last for some time.
“Our underlying aim, however long it does take, is to work with clubs as closely and as fairly as possible. This is to ensure Mayo GAA’s viability and future readiness when we return to full activity,” he said.