The Federation of Irish Sport has published its pre-budget submission calling for an additional tranche of sports resilience funding to assist the return from the impact of Covid, a commitment to maintain National Sports Policy funding on a multi-annual basis and the diversion of a percentage of tax revenues from betting and sugar taxes towards specific sport-based education programmes.

The submission puts forward that an increased investment now in people and programmes that promote participation will have a disproportionately positive impact for the country that will continue long into the future.

It recognises and thanks the Government for the support of the sector over the last 18 months of Covid 19 with direct funding for Sport and physical activity, but also through cross-sectoral supports that our members could access.

The five key asks of the submission are:

1. Sports Resilience Funding: Recognise the pivotal role played by our NGB’s and LSP’s, and the impact that Covid has had on their finances, by putting in place a further tranche of the Sports Resilience Funding in the 2022 budget to assist them in ensuring their clubs, get back to pre-Covid levels of activity in the first instance, and create the platforms needed to ensure Irish Sport meets the targets of the National Sports policy.

2. National Sports Policy Funding: Increase overall current sports funding in the 2022 Budget, in line with its policies laid out in the National Sports Policy 2018–2027. It has always been The Federation’s contention that it is essential that the government’s commitment to doubling sports funding (over the ten-year life of the NSP) should be done incrementally, year on year, every year. Never has this been more important than for 2022

3. A Commitment To Multi-Annual Funding: Move to a multi-annual system of current funding for sport, thereby giving the NGB’s and LSP’s the opportunity to plan ahead. This is not about extra funding but rather about certainty. Already there have been moves for such certainty for High Performance Sport. The ask is that it now be extended for all sports funding

4. Sugar Tax and Sport: Redirect €1.35m (4.5%) of the Sweetened Sugar Drinks Tax exchequer returns to fund a specific campaign to tackle the obesity problem in Ireland. The sugar-sweetened tax was created to stimulate behavioural change among Irish society away from the consumption of high-sugar products. While the tax is a financial disincentive, education is key in driving any behavioural change. Investing in sport to educate and encourage such change is a key element and should be resourced to support the overall aims of the sugar tax – to improve the health of the nation.

5. Betting Tax Redistribution: €2.34m (4.5%) of the increase of the Betting Tax to develop and implement communication and educational programmes on the importance of sport and the protection of those at risk in our sporting community. Ideally, this could be used to create grassroots diversion programmes in which sporting activity would be linked to educational, training and employment opportunities such as after school clubs focusing on sport, personal development, and education – literacy/numeracy and IT sessions.

“Sport plays such a huge role in the lives of Irish people, it brings people together, builds communities and provides joy to people in even the toughest times,” said Federation of Irish Sport CEO Mary O’Connor.

“What many people may not realise is that there is also a significant economic benefit of sport to this country through employment, tourism, tax receipts, prevention of illness and much more.”

“The five asks in our pre-budget submission reflect the needs of the sector and we believe that the government through Budget 2022 have the opportunity to provide the sports sector with the necessary tools to continue their work and positive impact into the future”

Recent research by Sport Ireland in association with Sheffield Hallam University revealed that the total value of sport to the Irish economy in 2018 was €3.7bn (GVA), while €3.3bn was spent by people in Ireland on sport-related goods and services.

Sport also made up 3.1% of all consumer expenditure in Ireland in 2018 (up from 2% in 2008) and 64,080 people were employed in sport in Ireland, while the estimated economic value of volunteering in sport and physical activity in Ireland in 2018 was €1.5bn.

Recent research by the Federation of Irish Sport also suggests that the State may recoup up to €195 in tax revenue for every €100 invested in sport-related activity.

 

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