GAA annual report: DG Tom Ryan backs debate on opening GAA grounds to other sports

GAA director general Tom Ryan has said he supports adopting “a more liberal attitude” to making county grounds available to other sports.

Ryan’s comments follow both Breffni Park and Pairc Ui Chaoimh recently hosting Ulster and Munster rugby games.

“It might be time to reconsider our current restrictions,” said the GAA’s director general in his annual report.

GAA rules allow for other sports to be given access to association venues for “events of national significance”.

Ulster Rugby’s friendly against Glasgow on 7 October – when development work on the new Kingspan Stadium pitch in Belfast was still ongoing – and Munster’s high-profile friendly against Super Rugby side Crusaders, which took place at Pairc Ui Chaoimh last weekend, were deemed to have been in that category.

“Recent months have seen permission granted for a small number of games which possibly stretch that definition and have given me pause for thought,” added the GAA director general.

“We are in an era where the construction of new grounds, the refurbishment of existing ones, and even the running costs of either pose an even greater challenge.

“Our future lies with new models of ownership, municipal facilities and shared grounds. These could well present our best opportunities for expansion.”

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