The GAA’s cashless policy at matches excludes many older fans and should be reversed, according to one former GAA head.
Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has confirmed all public bodies have been told they must continue to accept cash payments from people.
The current GAA ticket policy only allows people to buy tickets on gaa.ie, ticketmaster.ie, and in Centra and SuperValu shops across Ireland.
While the GAA insist it does not have a “cashless” policy as fans can buy tickets with cash in local shops ahead of a match, many people have called for the return of ticket sellers at match grounds.
Former GAA President Sean Kelly told The Hard Shoulder it’s “a bit much” that fans cannot purchase tickets at the gate.
“It was too quick for the GAA to [go cashless] and I would like to see them taking cash at the gates,” he said.
“Even today at the Ploughing Championships, you could book your ticket online, you could pay by card, or you could pay by cash.
“When I was inside [the Championships], the topic came up and one man said to me he used to go to three matches every weekend, maybe at the spur of the moment.
“Now he goes to no matches because he doesn’t have the opportunity of wherewithal to book it online in advance.”
Another former GAA President Liam O’Neill said he himself is an “OAP” who made himself “digitally literate” after the change in ticket policy.
“There are so many things you have to use [technology] for now,” he said.
“It's just impossible to live life without ever being able to manage that.”
Mr O’Neill clarified the GAA’s policy, saying it is not completely cashless and claimed at county-level games, local clubs accept cash at the gates.
“It’s not [cashless] across the board,” he said.
“In league games, in most counties, clubs collect tickets at the gates and accept cash.
“For big stadia, if there’s a crowd of over one-third expected, it must be ticketed... then you have a guaranteed seat," Mr O'Neill said.
“There is a difference between going to an event where you can walk around and [events] where you have to sit down for seats.”
Mr Kelly said it’s fine to let the GAA allow people who buy tickets ahead of a match “to get the best seats possible”.
“But do not cut off people who are not in a position to either buy tickets online or maybe didn’t know they were free to go to the match until a few hours ahead [of it],” he said.
“That would be a very small number of people.”
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