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GAA institutes gambling sponsorship ban

Delegates at the Gaelic Athletic Association’s (GAA) Annual Congress have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a blanket ban on sponsorship agreements between its members and any gambling companies.

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The GAA, which met at the Croke Park Stadium in Dublin at the weekend, said in a statement that this decision prohibits “sponsorship by a betting company of any competition, team, playing gear or facility”.

A whopping 93% of the 270 delegates who attended the conference voted to allow the motion, with GAA President John Horan telling <i>RTE Sport</i>: "taken the lead out of pure social responsibility. 

"I think the betting problem in this country is a lot more dangerous than people think. The whole movement of betting into credit cards, phones, that sort of thing, is exposing people in a far great way.”

The GAA has over 500,000 members worldwide and is the organisation in charge of promoting Irish sports including: hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, Gaelic handball and rounders.

Among those teams affected by this ban will be former All-Ireland club champions Crossmaglen Rangers, who are sponsored by bookmakers Bar One Racing, while Armagh also have a sponsorship arrangement with BoyleSports. Both will have to end as a result of this vote.

Former Gaelic football star Alan Kerins, speaking on behalf of the Gaelic Players Association welcomed the GAA’s actions, but called on it to do more to support players both current and past.

Kerins added: "The GAA is a very significant organisation socially and this is a big step, not only to protect the players but also the wider GAA community. They are taking a lead on it, both nationally and internationally on it.

“While we support the motion and commend the GAA for a very progressive step, we still feel there’s an awful lot more to do. We help players at crisis point but we also want to introduce a lot more preventative measures, like life coaching. We’re also working intensely with players transitioning out of the game and rolling out an induction programme for new inter-county players.”

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