County councillor calls for review of GAA television deal

The GAA needs to commission an independent review of its pay per view TV policy of broadcasting GAA matches, according to county councillor Shaun Cunniffe.

The Independent councillor believes the current SKY broadcasting deal, which is up for renewal at the end of this Championship season, has been "catastrophic" causing the exclusion of hundreds of thousands of GAA followers from watching their national games.

Cllr Cunniffe said, "In my capacity as a public representative I have been contacted with heart-rending stories from angry and disillusioned GAA people who are hurt and feel something has been taken from them.

"It is also hard to believe that so many of our sick and elderly in hospitals and nursing or care homes are denied the enjoyment of watching their national sports as they have done all their lives."

Using the example of the County Mayo football team, Cunniffe highlights the statistic that four of Mayo's five Championship matches have been exclusive to SKY Sports.

The Tuam councillor commented, "Mayo’s non SKY subscribers have been all but totally excluded. This regrettably can now happen to any county and the next deal under negotiation would only deepen this crisis."

Cllr Cunniffe continued, "It has to be remembered that consistently for the last 20 years every GAA president, and also the current director general Paraic Duffy, are on the record promising faithfully that the GAA would not sell out to subscription TV, detailing all the right reasons for this position, including what is right by the community and voluntary members whose efforts alone built and now sustain the GAA.

"I believe this whole route to the pay per view/ subscription TV deal for our national games has to stop and all our Gaelic Games must be designated free to air."

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