“The past year has proved very damaging to the association from a financial point of view, with the likelihood that the after-effects will be felt for some years to come.”
The GAA have announced a loss of €34m for 2020 in their annual report, mainly due to lost gate receipts as the Championship was played without crowds attending matches.
This loss comes despite government funding.
The GAA’s 2020 loses.
Tom Ryan wrote in his report that 2020 has proved to be “very damaging” and that the financial repercussions will be “felt for some years to come” with no end in sight yet for crowds to return to games.
“The past year has proved very damaging to the association from a financial point of view, with the likelihood that the after-effects will be felt for some years to come,” Ryan said.
“2020 presented us with many difficult decisions, not least financial. We may not have had income, but we still had responsibilities.
“So to the extent possible we played games, we promoted health initiatives, we made facilities available, we put our best foot forward.
“Ironically these came at a continued cost when we could least afford it.”
When crowds can return.
Ryan, and the GAA, did not foresee the length of time without crowds, having initially felt the shutdown of activities would only last a few months.
“When it first became apparent that a Covid threat was emerging we did not foresee the extent or duration of what was ahead,” Ryan continued.
“The initial shutdown of our activities in late March was in the sincere expectation of a difficult few months and no more, and we expected to be able to weather a brief interruption.
“But what followed proved more difficult than we could have imagined. We tried our best to live up to our responsibilities to the Association and to society.
“We did not always get everything right, and we did not fully deliver on every aspect, but I do think we comported ourselves reasonably well and lived up to our responsibilities.”
The Director-General of the GAA also addressed the fact that many club championships were not finished in 2020.
Ryan expressed his regret over not completing some championships and took a lot of the blame.
“It is a matter of real regret that we didn’t manage to finish the championships in every county,” Ryan added.
“I regret also that this was largely our own fault.
“Faced with the health risk and reputational damage from a number of high-profile post-match events we had no alternative but to suspend the games in the remaining counties.
“That day, and that decision weighed heavily on me.
“Our job is to promote games, not to stop them, but there was a greater imperative that we couldn’t shy away from. I sincerely hope those championships can be concluded.”
He said the decision was “a regrettable blight on an otherwise excellent programme of games.”
The Carlow native also thanked the government for their financial support which allowed the winter inter-county championship to take place.