An opening of applications for the long-awaited Government fund reserved for large-scale capital sports projects could come as early as tomorrow according to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross speaking at an Oireachtas Committee exploration of the National Sports Policy yesterday.
That will put organisations including Leinster Rugby and the RDS, Connacht Rugby, the GAA, FAI and Cricket Ireland, who have all expressed ambition for new facilities to benefit from this fund very much on notice.
It is more likely to be early next week but it is imminent.
So too is the delayed naming of the Sports Leadership Group who will be charged with putting targets and timetables around the key pillars of the ten-year policy published in July.
This was originally targeted as being in place within 90 days of the policy launch which would have been October 19th but it is always better to get it right rather than getting it quick and there has been some obvious shuffling of getting the right representation of different interests within the wider sporting family.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin also revealed that their findings would be reported on “around this time next year, maybe a little earlier” and that the implementation would now extend to over 12 years, reviewable every four in line with the cycle of the Olympic and Paralympic Games cycle.
Among the other things we learned yesterday were that the current round of Sports Capital Grant funding has attracted total bids of €163 million of funding, for a pot of only €40 million and that it would likely be March or April of 2019 when the notification of awards would be made.
“We want to administer this as quickly as possible and get the money out to clubs and organisations but there is a massive administrative job of work to be done.”
“The 2017 applications that were resubmitted could be out before Christmas but that is dependent on a number of moving parts.”
“We would hope that the 2018 applications will be finalised in the spring but there will also be a slowdown in that if there are small anomalies in applications that we will be giving them a second chance to get those things corrected.”
On a question of governance Minister Griffin revealed that of the 76 bodies affiliated to Sport Ireland that 12 National Governing Bodies, three local sports partnerships and one other are already fully compliant with the Governance Code and that it was expected by 2021 that all of the bodies would be fully compliant.