Outgoing Director-General of the GAA Páraic Duffy has broken the Association’s silence on the controversy surrounding Kerry legend Colm Cooper’s testimonial dinner.
The corporate-backed event, which will raise funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, and Kerry Cancer Support Group – but will also see the Dr Crokes clubman take an undisclosed portion of the proceeds himself.
Duffy said that Cooper approached the GAA about the dinner and, although he did not get the support of Croke Park, the top brass did inform him that he was breaking no rules and therefore open to no punishment.
Speaking on the Today with Seán O’Rourke show on RTÉ Radio, Duffy said:
“What I said to Colm when he came to see me, and I said it very clearly, was that I had a concern here about how this might impact on your status and on our rules.
“Under our current rules we cannot prevent such events from happening. Do we need to look at it? Yes.
“I went back to Colm and told him of this and said, ‘if you go ahead with it you will not be suspended and no charge will be levelled against you’.”
Despite there being nothing the GAA could do to stop this event from taking place, Duffy left no doubt that the GAA were not supporting the October 27 event.
“But I did ask him was he doing the right thing here.
“I told him the GAA would not be supporting it and we’re not supporting it.”
Cooper’s testimonial is unprecedented in the GAA – and the outgoing Director-General is hoping that they will not be a common fixture:
“I’m very clear on this, our organisation does not want testimonials.
“It’s the message I have got very clearly over the last few weeks. We are an amateur organisation, we don’t reward our players financially.”
Check out the latest episode of The 16th Man, Pundit Arena’s GAA podcast.