Sky Sports have made it clear that they have no influence on the decisions made by the GAA and are ready to televise Kildare vs. Mayo no matter where it is played.
The big story of the week so far in the world of GAA stems from the ongoing dispute between Kildare and the GAA over the decision to take away their home advantage for their crucial clash with Mayo this weekend.
Concerns of health and safety due to capacity issues were the apparent problem but, of course, Kildare felt very hard done by after securing a matchup in their home venue of St. Conleth’s Park in Newbridge.
A statement from the official Twitter of the Kildare team released the following statement in the wake of the revelation:
Statement: All Ireland SFC Series Round 3 Fixture ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/noK390802O
— Kildare GAA (@KildareGAA) June 25, 2018
Manager Cian O’Neill appeared on RTE News to double down on the original stance taken and last night, the GAA returned with their reply. Their director of game’s administration Feargal McGill told The Irish Times the following:
“The game has been fixed for 7pm in Croke Park, and that is not going to change under any circumstances.
“We fully appreciate where Kildare are coming from. We don’t take home venue off of a team lightly. However, health and safety has to come first. It’s that simple. The last thing we wanted to do was take this out of Newbridge, but we simply had no choice. There is no room for manoeuvre, not when it comes to health and safety. If Kildare don’t show up in Croke Park on Saturday at 7.0pm the game will be awarded to Mayo.
“There were discussions all morning on the matter, and it won’t be changing at this stage. Given the capacity, this is all about health and safety, simple as that. The CCCC have a responsibility for fixing venues, and those venues are fixed subject any health and safety concerns or requirements. Had Kildare drawing anyone other than Mayo at home it is likely that Newbridge would have been acceptable as a venue.”
Sky Sports, who will broadcast the game live, entered the fray with their own statement – with the full updated version available to read below:
“Sky Sports has introduced red button functionality to cater for all eventualities including extra time for when we have double headers on our GAA coverage. Sky has absolutely no influence on the selection of venues for live televised matches.
“In any event, we will have crews ready and in place to film this weekend’s games regardless of where they take place.”
Both sides may well be at a stalemate with this one, but with the hours ticking on – expect to hear a lot more on this front before all is said and done.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena