Call for Donegal Co. Board to scrap annual levy paid by clubs

Cash-strapped clubs have seen income streams dry up

Call for Donegal Co. Board to scrap annual levy paid by clubs

Clubs have virtually no income in most cases

A leading Donegal GAA club official has called on the county board to scrap the annual levy on clubs for this year, at a time when the club income is virtually zero.

The chairman of reigning county champions Naomh Conaill, David Kelch, says the levy is crippling at a time when clubs have no source of income due to the current lockdown.

And he added that he was aware of a number of other cash-strapped clubs who are unhappy with having to pay the levy in lean times.

“I understand the county board has to get money in as it has loans and various expenses and has been badly hit from a revenue point of view as well,” he said.

“But this is a truly exceptional year and I believe the board could make it up when things get better in the future, and that will be next year at the very least,” he said.

He added: “I am convinced they should drop the levy for this year given the exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in. That would give clubs some breathing space and we are prepared to work with the county board on this to come to some sort of a resolution.

“Clubs have been hammered and our club has been particularly hit as we no longer have a club Lotto.

“By now we should have had up to eight club league matches over us and four of them would have been at home, which would have generated some income for us,” he noted.

He continued: “We are not the only club concerned and I know of at least one other club that has contacted the county board on this issue and I also know that a number of other clubs are unhappy with having to pay the levy on top of all their other expenses in these lean times.

“We sent an email to the county board after the lockdown came in proposing that levies be suspended while there is no club activity. They did not engage with us on this.

“We have already paid our injury fund of €8,800 for the year plus the property and public liability insurance (approx €5000).

“There has been no rebate so far on any of these payments and it does not look like it will come. At the moment clubs have no form of income due to grounds being closed and all activities suspended.

“Last week the county board sent an email seeking the payment of club levies. Our club levy for the year would be €6,500. With no GAA action likely to July 20, this is totally unacceptable.

“This just cannot be done while there are no games and even if activity resumes by July 20, there will not be too many games played anyway. Nobody has any money at the moment. I know that Mayo suspended their levies at the start of the lockdown.

“We will have extra costs when we open up again and these costs will have to offset against everything else. We are really strained as we have not got the money from the Ulster Council from last year’s good run in the provincial championship.”

When contacted, county chairman Mick McGrath said he was not in a position to comment on the matters raised by the Naomh Conaill chairman at present.

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