Sport in Ireland: GAA rejects findings of report on participation in sport

Measures designed to keep players involved ‘not taken into account’

The GAA has said the negative findings of major new research on participation in sport ’do not show the full picture’.

The GAA has said the negative findings of major new research on participation in sport ’do not show the full picture’.

Thu, Dec 19, 2013, 01:23


The GAA has said the negative findings of major new research on participation in sport “do not show the full picture”.

The report Keeping Them in the Game: Taking Up and Dropping Out of Sport and Exercise in Ireland, carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute and commissioned by the Irish Sports Council, says the issue of dropping out from sport is “particularly acute” for the GAA and calls on the organisation to investigate the matter.

The research estimates that among participants aged 16 and over, 53 per cent of hurlers and 52 per cent of Gaelic football players will have dropped out of the sport within three to four years.

But GAA director of communications Alan Milton last night said he was “at a loss” to explain the figures. “The first thing to say is I am surprised there was no consultation with us on this,” he said.

“A large number of initiatives we currently have ongoing have been overlooked.

“I can’t dispute the figures insofar as I can’t give you other figures to contradict them but what I can say is that they have reached figures without assessing all of the initiatives we have underway at the moment.

“I’m at a loss as to how they arrived at those figures.”

He highlighted the football review committee’s recommendation to reduce the age of minor players from 18 to 17 as something which will have “a very obvious impact” on people who are studying for the Leaving Certificate.

“I don’t think there is any reference to that,” he said. “I don’t think it was considered.

Participation co-ordinator
“Secondly, we have just appointed a national participation co-ordinator.

“In 2012, we had more than 1,300 blitzes and almost 400,000 participants, which specifically targets the age group in question.

“I can’t say that categorically because I haven’t read all 159 pages of it, but the general point we’re trying to make here is that we’ve a lot of stuff going on to address this and I don’t think it features.

“We don’t accept that the picture painted in relation to Gaelic games is as negative as it appears. It cites us particularly as having issues and not doing enough to remedy the situation.”

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