THE GAA HAS voted to ban sponsorship deals with gambling companies.
At the GAA’s annual congress in Croke Park today, delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion, which was forwarded by Connacht GAA’s Mick Rock. He said sport today is “besieged by gambling” and that implementing a sponsorship ban would protect the integrity of Gaelic games.
Speaking to The42.ie this week, addiction counsellor Alan Martin from the Cuan Mhuire treatment centre in Galway said gambling has become “more intrinsic within the GAA”. Former Armagh footballer Oisín McConville and Galway hurler Davy Glennon are among those to have spoken about the time they spent in Cuan Mhuire on their road to recovery.
“What I discovered more and more is that these lads are looking for a high and a buzz from the sports field,” Martin said. “They lead a healthy life and when they come off the sports field, they’re kind of left feeling a bit somewhat empty and they’re looking for some buzz or that chase and it might be a small gamble that might start them off.
“And it builds up over the years.”
Today Alan Kerins from the Gaelic Players Association, speaking ahead of the vote, also said the GPA was “strongly supportive” of the motion.
“Gambling is a huge concern for the inter-county player at the moment. 77 players presented for counselling services this year, and over half of those were for gambling specific issue,” he told delegates.
“We would like to commend the GAA on taking this leadership step for society as a whole. We would urge everyone to support this motion.”
The motion to prohibit sponsorship of any GAA competition, team, player gear or facility by a betting company was passed with 93% of delegates voting in favour of it.
A separate motion proposing to remove a rule which allows a sponsor’s brand name to be displayed on jackets, tops, jerseys, and kit-bags of match officials was also passed.