Cork clubs must cough up  more to ensure injured players aren't out of pocket

An increase of 25% in the cost of team registrations will cover players drawing from the Loss of Wages scheme
Cork clubs must cough up  more to ensure injured players aren't out of pocket

GAA Commercial Director & Croke Park Stadium Director Peter McKenna, right, and GAA Director of Finance Ger Mulryan pitchside at Croke Park in Dublin after a remote media briefing announcing the 2020 GAA Annual Report and Financial Accounts. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

CROKE PARK got around the shortfall in their Player Injury Fund by increasing the cost of team registrations for the new club season, which starts on Monday.

The controversial Loss of Wages Cover is being re-instated back into the Fund, effective from Tuesday last, and benefits will be restored in full, according to a statement from Ger Mulryan, the Finance Director.

It means an adult team registration cost will increase from €1,000 to €1,250 and an U20 team go up from €200 to €250. 

There will be no increases applied to juvenile team rates.

The 2021/22 Player Injury Fund term will run until May 31, 2022.

A number of delegates to the June county board meeting, again held remotely, expressed their disappointment at the outcome with Cork hoping for an extension of the current scheme until the end of the year.

“I was very surprised that it wasn’t put down as one of the options because I thought it was the most obvious,” said John O’Flynn (Freemount).

“He acknowledged that our proposal had been considered, when they were putting forward the options.

“Our option in effect basically said to maintain the status quo by paying insurance up to the end of the year.

“It should have been put on the table and I believe at the end of the year, when we are putting forward motions for Congress, that we need to put one forward, whereby the insurance year would end at the end of December.

“I would be looking at a scenario where the insurance year would go from June 1 to December 31, 2022 so that the insurance paid by clubs next year would be significantly less.

“I think it’s important the insurance shouldn’t straddle two seasons and it needs to be discussed again at Congress,” he added.

Another delegate, Liam Kenny (Kilworth), said lessons had to be learned.

“We went down the appropriate channels, but I believe it was a fait accompli before we got there.

“We must try and make sure that this temporary levy doesn’t become permanent because the problem with this scheme is that it’s getting tighter and tighter.

“Of course, nobody wants erroneous claims, but I believe it’s important that we get back to a situation where we don’t have costs going up on one side and service and cover going down on the other.

“I think it’s something we should keep a close eye on going forward and learn the lessons from this one,” he said.

Chairman Marc Sheehan agreed. “I would echo those sentiments. 

"It is certainly on our agenda and we will take that up. The key thing is that the Loss of Wages remains,” he said.

The full statement reads: “I wish to confirm that a GAA Players “Loss of Wages Cover” will be re-instated back into the GAA Player Injury Fund with effect from 1st June 2021.

“It will form part of the GAA “Players Injury Fund” in line with previous years and will see the associated cover benefits restored in full.

“Following representations made by clubs and members of Ard Chomhairle in relation to the pause placed on the “Loss of Wages Cover” in January 2021, a ballot of Ard Chomhairle was held last week to determine the preferred option that would see this cover fully restored.

“The option selected by Ard Chomhairle will see a 25% levy applied to a clubs Adult and U20 team registration costs with all claims being fully administered from within the existing GAA Player Injury Fund and not via a separate insurance policy.

“Injury cover will commence once a player is registered on the Foireann system.

“Payment of your clubs 2021/22 Player Injury Fund premium will be due by August 20 and invitation invoices for team renewals will issue this week.”

Meanwhile, as clubs gear up for a new and different league season, Niall Barrett, the Referees Administrator, called on them to provide more referees.

“We have some 200 referees in the county and they referee at all levels, Rebel Og, adult, ladies football and camogie. 

"There are around 100 on the county board panel.

“But, we have a shortage in some clubs, who are not buying into it,” he said.

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