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Joe Brolly says GAA ban on charities on jerseys has caused ‘genuine rage’

He said it shows the organisation to be very out of touch with reality yet “very, very happy with the corporate world.”

Joe Brolly© SPORTSFILE

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The GAA’s decision to ban teams from promoting charities on their shirts has caused “genuine rage” in the community, Joe Brolly has said.

The controversial move was agreed on at the GAA Ard Chomhairle meeting over the weekend, with officials arguing that there were other opportunities to promote charities without “modifying playing gear”.

It is believed a number of county teams had been planning to promote a GAA-centric charity on their kit at a championship game in the coming weeks.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Brolly said that the decision has caused outrage among GAA members.

“It is extremely disappointing. There was a huge groundswell against it on Sunday at the games,” he said.

The Derry man said the GAA Ard Chomhairle are “more comfortable with the corporate world than with the GAA community”.

“It is a very damaging message, but it’s not a surprise. This is stewardship of a corporate world with the GAA people taking second place.”

Brolly pointed out that GAA officials could easily approve or reject specific charities and sponsors from appearing on kits on a case-by-case basis.

He said it shows the organisation to be very out of touch with reality yet “very, very happy with the corporate world”.

“You’re selling junk food, junk burgers and all that? Well absolutely, we’ve no problem with that whatsoever,” he said.

“You’re a predatory bank that has caused untold suffering in our country over the last ten or 11 years? No problem whatsoever.

“You’re an enormous insurance conglomerate with a very, very dubious past? No problem whatsoever.

“But if you want to do something good for your neighbours, you want to support a humane cause, you want to support for example our LGBTQ neighbours, if you want to do something like that - like Mayo wanted to do, simply rainbow colouring - we’re not really into that.”

He continued: “I think there’s a genuine rage amongst GAA people today and it’s entirely understandable.

“People are saying, these people have nothing to do with us. The people of An Coiste Bainistíochta (GAA Management Committee) have nothing to do with us, they have nothing in common with us.

“This is a corporate world. The exact opposite of what we’re supposed to be.”

Brolly is a campaigner for the Opt For Life foundation, which has seen huge benefits from being featured on GAA club jerseys in recent years.

“It’s a voluntary movement, which has promoted organ donation,” he said.

“We had it in the match programmes, we had hundreds of teams wearing the Opt for Life logo which is free to use, there is no charge.

“It’s a tremendous message and it has been transformative in saving people’s lives. Organ donation numbers have boomed over the last eight years.”


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