€3M Women in Sport Funding Unveiled

Sport Ireland today announced a multi-year investment of over €3 million in National Governing Bodies of Sport through the re-launched Women in Sport Programme.

The money was committed to earlier this year as part of the new Sport Ireland Women in Sport policy and was opened up to application from National Governing Bodies of Sport to apply for.

The money will now go over the remainder of 2019 and 2020 to 40 National Governing Bodies.

Irish Rugby and the Confederation of Irish Golf secured the highest levels of funding with €100,000 going to each for a variety of different projects.

Tennis Ireland, Athletics Ireland, Gymnastics Ireland , Hockey Ireland and Swim Ireland come in the next wave with €75,000 each.

Basketball, Cycling, Rowing and Triathlon gain €50,000. Badminton, Canoeing, Sailing, the Irish Wheelchair Association and Ladies Football have been allocated €40,000. Cricket, Boxing and Motorsport are next on €35,000.

Mountaineering, Volleyball and the Community Games get €25,000 while Judo, Camogie and the Olympic federation of Ireland each get €20,000.

Other amounts of between €15,000 and €3,0000 go to 15 other sporting bodies.

In addition to this funding an amount of €228,000 in 2019 and €78,000 in 2020 has been ringfenced for ‘strategically important internal and funded organisation related events and projects.

FAI Out in the Cold

The one major omission from the funding is Women’s football. All funding to the FAI is currently suspended pending investigations and improvements in Governance.

It’s absence, during a week when the Euro 2021 Qualififiers got off to such a good start, and a new high profile manager was appointed to the Women’s National Team, is all the more stark given the prominence which football had at the launch of the policy back in March.

The timing is again particularly unfortunate as in the wake of rising investment and engagement around the world it would have been expected that the FAI would have been in the top tier of funding support.

Normally when a body is temporarily out of kilter with Sport Ireland criteria for funding an amount will nevertheless be set aside but that is not the case with the FAI.

“There are a number of issues within the FAI that need to be resolved,” said Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin. “I hope these issues can be resolved as soon as possible and I look forward to a time when we can supply funding again in the future.”

“We will always try to facilitate NGB’s when genuine efforts are being made. That said there are lots of organisations and projects on which the money can be spent and that’s what we have announced today.”

“I hope that within the upper echelons of the FAI, they will realise that if they want to draw down money for capital investment, and for programmes, they are going to have to ensure they have the proper structures in place to gain from public money.”

Yesterday’s announcement follows the publication of Sport Ireland’s new Policy on Women in Sport earlier this year.

The policy builds on the significant work that has already been undertaken in this area within the sport sector to date, recognising the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of women through their involvement in sport.

Four Key Pillars

The Policy on Women in Sport identifies four key pillars in which improvement can be made and measured.

Coaching and Officiating, Active Participation, Leadership & Governance and Visibility are the four themes under which the funding was applied for.

“One of the key objectives of the Government’s National Sports Policy is to increase the number of women and girls participating in sport and to eliminate the participation gradient between men and women,” said Minister of State Griffin addressing a large group of sporting leaders at the Sport Ireland Campus.

“While the gender gradient, at 4.5%, is narrower now than at any point over the past ten years, it is important that this gradient is eliminated altogether.”

“Sport Ireland’s new Women in Sport Policy and the re-launched Women in Sport Programme is essential in this regard. I want to pay a particular tribute to our high profile sportswomen who continue to inspire and encourage thousands of girls and young women throughout Ireland every day to become involved in sport and to stay involved.”

Through the Women in Sport Programme, many National Governing Bodies for Sport have developed innovative programmes which target groups of young girls, teenage girls and older adults. While active participation remains important, the areas of leadership, coaching and officiating have become a key focus for many of the National Governing Bodies.

Women in Sport Committee

“Through the allocation of this funding, the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Policy is coming to life,” added Chair of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Committee, Lynne Cantwell.

“While active participation remains vitally important, in line with the Women in Sport Policy Sport Ireland encouraged funded bodies to look at other areas of involvement as well.”

“The funding process has seen National Governing Bodies embrace projects focussed on developing leadership opportunities, and pathways to coaching and officiating. This holistic approach will lead to a step-change in the landscape for women’s involvement in sport across the board from grassroots to leadership.”

A key aim of the Women in Sport programme is to have equal participation between males and females in sport. The gender gradient in sports participation has closed from 15.7% to 4.5% since 2007 according to the most recent Irish Sports Monitor (2017).

“That fact that the Women in Sport funding programme was oversubscribed demonstrates the buy-in from the sector to make a meaningful impact,” said Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy.

“With the publication of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Policy, the appointment of Nora Stapleton as Women in Sport Lead and the re-launched Women in Sport Programme, we will look to substantially increase the number of women and girls getting involved in sport.”

One of the key actions of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Policy is the appointment of a Women in Sport Lead to act authoritatively and strategically to develop and promote women and girl’s involvement in sport.

Former Irish international rugby player, Nora Stapleton, was appointed to the role in April of this year.

Yesterday we carried an interview with Lynne Cantweel on her persopective of how the Women in Sport Committee has come to life.

Over the coming weeks, as we publish our annual list of 50 Women of Influence in Irish sport and build up to our Annual Women in Sport Conference at RTÉ on November 13th we will feature a selection of the projects to gain funding and talk to Nora stapleton about how the overall programme is being executed.

Next week we will look at the programmes in Golf, Gymnastics, Swimming and Motorsport with more to follow

It is an exciting time for Women’s sport generally.  together we need to capture the momentum to make the gains create a sustainable long term impact.

Read More: Launch of Women in Sport Policy
Read More: Appointment of Nora Stapleton
Read More: Interview with Lynne Cantwell



Image Credits: David Fitzgerald, Sportsfile

Similar Articles