Federation Pushes Sport Agenda for GE2020

With the General Election in full flow, the Federation of Irish Sport has launched its own 2020 Manifesto.

It follows on from consultation with over 100 sporting organisations who are members of the Federation in which they highlighted their key concerns and priorities for an incoming government.

Six of the key elements included in the short document are

1. Resource the National Sports Policy properly and effectively
2. Ensure multi-annual core funding for National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships
3. Provide support for organisations working to be sports governance compliant by January 2021
4. Provide annual sports capital grants
5. Implement meaningful insurance reform
6. Provide a budget for volunteer recruitment and training

All of the above are broadly in line with stated policy that has been implemented over recent years but the manifesto goes further in suggesting a number of changes that will benefit the strength of sport and physical activity as being a cornerstone of Government engagement.

Primary among them is the creation of a separate Department with a senior Minister devoted to Sport and Tourism as opposed to being part of a larger one including Transport.

We are not sure about this as having one of the larger spending elements of Government does attract greater engagement.

The two Ministers who had a responsibility in this area and which included exposure to and engagement with sport were Leo Varadkar and Paschal Donohoe. The Ministers of State for Sport and Tourism over the last Government – Brendan Griffin, Patrick O’Donovan and Michael Ring have served sport well in support of the senior Ministers and hiving off from Transport could lead to a downgrade in terms of perceived importance.

Another core principle of encouraging greater collaboration across different Government departments including education and health can only be positive and would benefit all.

The creation of new funding streams through the National Lottery would be another winner and the proposals are backed up in financial terms by reference to the recent Investec report which showed that Government benefitted from €195 return on every €100 invested in sport.

The redirection of portions of the ‘Sugar Tax’ towards programmes targetting childhood physical activity and of the betting tax towards education for the protection of integrity and those at risk within the sporting community make sense.

There is a commitment to doubling spending on sport and physical activity as part of the National Sports policy that runs through to 2027 and that has gotten off to a good start through recent spending announcements and commitments to action.

Any General Election is a busy time with so many different competing calls for money and attention. The call of sport may not be heard above homelessness, health and crime but without the voice of the Federation to press in a political sense, it would have no chance at all.

Tomorrow Sport for Business will take a close look at where sport features in the published manifestoes of the main political parties vying for our attention and our votes.

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Image Credit: Madison Duffy, William Fry

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