John Hughes points out in this week’s Opening shot column that the GAA’s greatest success has been their foresight to focus on facilities many many years ago.
He explained that the GAA provide a good example for any association which wants to grow their sport. He points out that in England their efforts to use promotions like the Olympics to encourage participation have not worked, and instead they should focus on facilities.
He said: “The Yougov survey of 2000 people released last month suggested that most Britons, 73 per cent in this case would priorities grass roots sports funding over medal wins at the 2020 Tokyo Olumpics.
“The survey found only seven percent of Britons had been inspired by the Olympics to take up a sport, with most saying it was too expensive, facilities were poor or non existent, or they don’t have the time or confidence.
“The Yougov survey decries the Thatcherite sell off of school playinng fields as a calamity for sporting participation in the UK. The GAA managed to do the precise opposite. Primarily through the sweat of their volunteers collective brow, they put sporting facilities within easy reach of all.
“In doing so they addressed one of the principle barrieres to participation cited by respondents to the YouGov poll.”
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John Hughes took the opportunity to use Colm Cooper's retirement as an opportunity to recall the rise and fall...