Updated Friday 6th May 2022

Sport Ireland has announced that multi-annual high-performance funding is now to be guaranteed on each four-year cycle towards the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As part of this, a funding package of €14.2 million for 2022 has been agreed upon, spread across 18 individual sports, not yet including boxing, for the Olympic Federation of Ireland and Paralympics Ireland, and towards 112 athletes.

That level of funding has also been secured by Minister Jack Chambers and the Sport Ireland team for 2023 and 2024.

The total invested in High-Performance in the Tokyo cycle was €31 million so this is a significant step up.

Targeted

The funding increase has also been tied to more of a targeted approach with greater medal prospects earning more for individual sports.

Rowing has jumped from high-performance funding of €620,00 in 2021 to €1.09 million this year and for each of the next two.

“We would like to very much thank Sport Ireland for their continued commitment to Rowing in Ireland on all facets of our journey,” said Rowing Ireland CEO, Michelle Carpenter.

“We have worked hand in hand with Sport Ireland to ensure that we are resourced and supported for the upcoming Olympic cycle and have reflected on what we need to do differently from our journey to Tokyo.”

Horse Sport Ireland, Swim Ireland, Cycling Ireland and Golf Ireland have all seen major increases while Gymnastics Ireland has more than doubled its Annual High-Performance funding from €230,000 in 2021 to €506,667 in each of the next three years.

“We are proud that Gymnastics Ireland has secured the 2nd highest increase in NGB HP programme funding from the #tokyo2020 cycle through to the new #paris2024 cycle and has broken into the top 10 funded sports in Ireland in terms of overall HP funding investment,” said Gymnastics Ireland CEO Ciaran Gallagher.

“This crucial investment in the Paris cycle, in addition to the significant investment from Gymnastics Ireland member-generated revenues, plus the athlete support services provision provided by the Sport Ireland Institute, will ensure we can really focus on the development of our Performance and Technical pathway system for our next generation of gymnasts.”

“This is in addition to the support already in place for our current senior gymnasts. I would like to thank Sport Ireland and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for the confidence they are demonstrating in our emerging programme and the wider HP sport sector in Ireland.”

Badminton Ireland has also doubled its funding while Judo and Canoeing have seen three and fourfold increases from lower bases.

Higher End

At the higher end of the funding Athletics Ireland, Hockey Ireland and the Irish Sailing Association had reached a different level of funding earlier and while all three remain in the top five of overall funding in the Paris cycle the gains that have been made in the 2022 surge have been more modest.

In the ‘over the shoulder’ world of competitive sport, some may be disappointed but Paul McDermott, Sport Ireland’s High-Performance director told us yesterday that this was a floor in terms of funding and that if breakthrough programmes or athletes come to the fore that there will be scope to accommodate that.

“The move to multi-annual funding will ensure High-Performance Programmes can plan throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Cycle with a degree of stability and certainty,” he said.

“Sport Ireland plans to invest over €40m in total in High-Performance Programme Funding throughout the Paris Cycle (2021-2024). This is an increase from €31m in the Tokyo Cycle (2017-2020).”

Boxing

There is always at least one sport that carries an asterisk into funding announcements and this year it is Boxing.

In receipt of €770,000 last year the sums for 2022, 2023 and 2024 have yet to be confirmed given issues of management and governance surrounding the high-performance approach of the IABA.

We have written elsewhere about the confluence of events that lead to this week’s resignation of Bernard Dunne from his position as High-Performance director.

That one cloud though should not diminish the positivity around the announcement, as well as the €3 million being put towards the funding of expenses for individual athletes, also covered elsewhere today on Sport for Business.

The search for multi-annual funding and the certainty that brings has been a long time in the making and that it should come in the first year of Dr Una May’s tenure as CEO of Sport Ireland is a significant plus for her.

“Sport Ireland’s High-Performance Strategy sets the bar high for our aims as a nation in international competition,” she said.

“In order for these objectives to be achieved, adequate resources, structures and processes are required. Through the delivery of a multi-year funding package, Sport Ireland is putting the athletes front and centre so they can focus fully on their training and preparation.”

“Augmented by robust system changes recommended in the Tokyo Games Review, Sport Ireland is confident that the right framework is now in place for Ireland to deliver at Paris 2024 and beyond.”

Win for Sport

It is also another big win for sport from Minister of State Jack Chambers whose deep level of engagement with the sector and obvious influence in Government has delivered another day of satisfaction in terms of doing what needs to be done.

“Sport Ireland has demonstrated strong leadership in the area of high-performance sport, with today’s investment being underpinned by a strong focus on strategic development,” he said.

“Our athletes provide us as a nation with so many memorable moments, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that they are provided with the best opportunity they can to succeed. Through this funding, the implementation of the recommendations of the Tokyo Games Review, the services of the Sport Ireland Institute and the facilities of the Sport Ireland Campus, Ireland is well placed heading into Paris 2024.”

 

Sport for Business Perspective

Today could be seen as something of a tipping point, the day we grew from being aspirational to being a truly high-performance centred country when it comes to major games.

 

 

Sport for Business Partners