Sport will be a winner from the 2020 budget as more detail was released yesterday on the make up of the funding that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has secured for the year ahead.
All of the details have yet to be fully released but what we do know, and what will please sporting bodies, is that there is a substantial increase in the amount of money earmarked for current as opposed to capital spending in the allocation for Sport Ireland.
In total that will amount for the next year to a sum of €68.5 million versus €62.2 million in 2019.
14 Per Cent Lift on Current Spending
The biggest uplift is in the amount for current spending which has climbed from €57.3 million this year to €65.6 million next year, a rise of a little more than 14 per cent.
This will include the money that goes towards National Governing Bodies to administer sport and bring programmes to life, to atheletes through the carding scheme of payments based on performance and potential and other measures.
The increase is largely attributed to money that will be needed to further the development of the National Sports Policy. It is expected that an announcement on the implementation plans for this, arising out of the work of the Sport Leadership Group over the last twelve months, will be made shortly.
There is a less amount going to Capital projects as part of that funding stream down from €4.9 million to €2.9 million.
Capital allocations will be lower as well in terms of the next round of Sports Capital grants but that is largely down to a significant rollover of money yet to be drawn down from the current round and is more of a phasing issue.
The outcome of the 2019 round is expected to be published shortly and Sport for business understands that the €40 million that will deliver will be widespread and accomodating a significant proportion of those eligible projects that were put forward.
Minister of State Brendan griffin confirmed yesterday that a new round would open again after the publication of those results and that an amount of €34 million was set aside for this, as well as for meeting existing commitments under the local Authority Swimming Pool Programme.
Large Scale Infrasructure
A figure of €10 million was outlined for the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Fund but we are still awaiting clarification on whether this is a further amount to the €63 million originally earmarked in the first three years of ten over which €100 million had been promised.
This will be of material interest to Leinster Rugby and the RDS for the redevelopment of their grounds; to Connacht Rugby for their major project at the Sportsgrounds, and for the many other sporting bodies that are banking on this.
€8 Million for Major Events
The other single line item that emerged at the Department briefing yesterday, at which Sport for Business was the only sporting media in attendance, a figure of €8 million was listed to fund major events including the tokyo olympics, Euro 2020 and the Ryder Cup which is coming to Adare Manor.
We believe the latter, together with an agreed contribution for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will take up as much as half of this money and will be repeated on a multi annual basis through to the tournemnt which will be hosted here in 2026.
The balance wil go towards the Euro 2020 games being staged here next summer and preparation for the Olympic Games.
In relation to the Euro’s we understand this is a commitment directly to UEFA and so will not be affected by the current suspension of state funding to the FAI. It has to be hoped that this will have been resolved but regardless, the Euro’s are coming and a way has to be found to meet the State’s promises in that regard.
The boost for the Olympics is a positive one and the Olympic Federation of Ireland were the first representative body to welcome that last night.
It is welcome though will be quickly swallowed up with our largest and most complex team lining up qualification for a Games that will require travel to the opposite side of the world.
Our first time ever qualification of all three teams in the equestrian disciplines is great but also expensive while the hope of securing qualification for both the Men’s and Women’s hockey teams and four boats in rowing will also be a lot more expensive than a single athlete, boxer, gymnast, or swimmer.
The responsibility for determining the breakdown of how money will be distributed across all the sports lies in the hands of Sport Ireland who will now hunker down internally and with the sporting bodies to determine the most effective ways of distributing the money that the department has won for them.
Like any budget we do not yet know the full picture. The Sport Ireland Campus was referenced but there was no specific allocation yesterday towards the next phase of development which had been slated as the new national Velodrome and Badminton Arena, scheduled to commence in 2020.
We will be following up on the clarity around this and other areas, as well as collating reaction from across the sporting spectrum in tomorrow morning’s Sport for Business Daily Digest.
Navigating the labrynth of a national budget that runs to hundreds of billions of state expenditure is never straightforward for recipients, analysts or even Department officials but rest assured we will try our best to make it as clear as possible.