GAA unlikely to return if social distancing remains in place

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GAA president John Horan has said that the GAA is unlikely to return this summer if social distancing remains in place. He also said the GAA is set to lose over 50 million euros because of the impact of the coronavirus.

Horan was speaking about the impact on the GAA of the virus on The Sunday Game. He addressed the careful approach in which the GAA will take, as well as casting further on whether we will see action in the hurling and football championships this summer. Speaking about social distancing in the GAA he said, “I can’t see it happening to be quite honest. If social distancing is a priority to deal with this pandemic, I don’t know how we can play a contact sport. That is what Gaelic games is. It is a contact sport.”

He did also state that if the 2020 championship was to go ahead it just start this year to be played. He told the Sunday Game, that it is unlikely league action will be completed. He continued,” There was a concept in it that people could gather together in groups of four. We felt that just couldn’t be marshaled within clubs and that is why we continue to keep our premises closed”.

Mr Horan also addressed the how the GAA will find themselves in owing to the coronavirus pandemic in terms of financially. He said, “Throughout the organisation taking into account county boards and clubs, the loss for the year for us is probably in the region of €50m.” He also said he didn’t like the idea of games been played behind closed doors. He said, “I have a bit of an issue with the closed doors concept. If it is safe enough for the players to be in close contact on the pitch, then it is going to be safe enough to have a certain number of people in the ground gathering,”

He said if the championship was to start in 2020, it would could continue into February of 2021. He said,” I think this year’s Championship would have to start in 2020 and go into the first two months of 2021″. “After that, if we’re back in action, we would have to move on and get on with the 2021 competitions. At this stage I would be inclined to say we will struggle to finish the league.”

Going on this basis a GAA return is not likely to happen before July at least. Of course if things get better then the five stage plan announced by the Taoiseach could be pushed forward.

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