‘Break up Dublin for football? I’m totally opposed to that’ - Páraic Duffy
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’In football there is a resistance to change’ - Páraic Duffy Photograph: Inpho
The ability to attract a major sponsor such as AIG puts Dublin GAA in its own league when it comes to income, and, some argue, lays out an uneven playing field for poorer counties. Could breaking up Dublin help restore balance?
“I’m totally opposed to that,” says Paraic Duffy, director general of the GAA on this week’s Inside Business podcast. “The idea of a North Dublin, South Dublin, Fingal team... it won’t fly”.
The answer, says Mr Duffy, is a revision of competition structure - a second tier.
“In football there is a resistance to change, and we still have just one. The thing is, if Dublin run their affairs well, as they do, they will always be extremely competitive in that”.
Inside Business: The Business of Sport
The resistance to change among GAA fans is also evident from the reaction to the airing of championship matches on Sky. Mr Duffy defends the unpopular move on two grounds: the wish to make games available overseas, particularly in Britain, and the need “to maximise our rights as best we can”.
But is it just the start of a gradual shift toward commercialisation, as many fans fear? “No, that won’t happen in the GAA. We’ve made it clear that we’re committed to maintaining a terrestrial partner as the key broadcaster”.
He added: “At the moment, the balance is perfect”.
Mr Duffy is the first guest on a new feature on Inside Business: The Business of Sport.
The monthly feature, co-hosted by Mick O’Keeffe of Teneo PSG and Ciarán Hancock, will feature interviews with leading figures from behind the scenes of Irish sport, as well as analysis of the latest sports industry news.
Also on this week’s podcast, Cliff Taylor analyses the changes to rules for mortgage providers.