The Government has announced an additional €65 million funding for sport through a COVID-19 investment programme across five key pillars. Applications will now be sought from across the sports sector through Sport Ireland.

The five pillars through which the funding will be distributed are as follows.

Field Sport Fund to support the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU

Specific funding will be made available to support the financial losses incurred by the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU.

A Resilience Fund to support the National Governing Bodies of Sport and other Sport Ireland Funded Bodies

Funding will be made available to the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs), Local Sports Partnership (LSPs) and other funded bodies. Funding will be a direct response to each funded body’s specific needs.

A Sports Club Resilience Fund

A Resilience Fund will be made available to ensure Sports Clubs can continue to deliver sporting opportunities at a local level. Funding will be distributed by Schemes established by the National Governing Bodies of Sport.

Swimming Pool and Facilities Fund

Specific funding will be allocated to support the reopening and continued viability of Swimming Pools along with facilities of key strategic importance to National Governing Bodies.

Fund to support the Resumption of Sport & Physical Activity
A Restart Fund will be made available to support the return of sport and physical activity post Pandemic via four specific schemes:

Small Grants Scheme:

Through this scheme Local Sports Partnerships are encouraged to operate a local scheme for small clubs and community groups similar to the national club scheme. These schemes can in turn support community groups & clubs who may not be affiliated to a national organisation or recognised Governing Body but provide a vital local service. These grants would cover costs associated with COVID 19 and reopening.

Disability Sector

Sport Ireland recognises the disproportionate impact of COVID 19 on people with a disability. It will ring-fence a proportion of the investment so that it is targeted directly at the disability sport sector.

Depending on demand across the schemes and the nature of the applications received, funding for the Disability Sport Sector may be drawn down from the NGB Fund and/or the Club Resilience Fund.

Grassroots Restart Fund

NGBs & LSPs are invited to apply for funding to support the resumption of sport and physical activity. Programmes targeting grassroots sport and underrepresented communities will be prioritised. Initiatives that support a return to Volunteering are also strongly encouraged.

Indoor Sport Fund

Specific funding will be ring-fenced to support the return of Indoor Sport. This investment recognises the disproportionate and unanticipated extent of COVID 19 Restrictions on their activities and the difficulties associated with resumption and a return to normal levels of activity. On the back of the announcement, Sport Ireland has invited applications from National Governing Bodies of Sport, Local Sports Partnerships and other funded bodies.

This is on top of €80 million in funding made available to the sport sector last year, action that maintained confidence that sport would be able to see its way through the turmoil of Covid.

“The sport sector has been, and continues to be, severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin announcing the funding this morning.

“Throughout this period, we have been continuously engaging with the sector, and we know that sporting bodies and clubs have been severely hit in every aspect of their operations, not least financially.”

“This further allocation of €65 million will allow Sport Ireland, through a number of different schemes, to assist those sporting bodies and clubs which are in greatest need, as we strive to ensure that our sporting sector is supported at every level across the country.”

“I am very pleased that we are able to continue to support our sporting bodies,” added Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers.

“Last year, our Covid-19 support funding helped ensure that our sporting bodies were in a position to maintain operations, avoid insolvency and prepare for a return to activity.”

“The funding also provided support with Covid-19 related costs and losses in 166 Rugby clubs, over 400 grassroots and League of Ireland Clubs along with 33,271 Gaelic Games teams. In addition, support was provided to 1,637 clubs throughout the country through small grants operated by Local Sports Partnerships.”

“We have seen the positive impact that the return of sporting fixtures has had across the country these past few months. However, there is a lot more work to be done.”

“Many organisations and clubs have lost huge amounts of revenue, as their activities have been severely curtailed. The indoor sports sector has been particularly badly hit, with indoor sports only set to resume their activities this month. I hope that this funding will go a long way to assisting our sporting organisations and clubs and enable them to recover fully as we emerge from this pandemic.”

“While society and economy continues to recover after a difficult 18 months, many challenges still lay ahead for our National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships and sports clubs,” said Sport Ireland Chair Kieran Mulvey.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support of Minister Martin, Minister Chambers and their colleagues in Government, who have responded positively to the representations made by Sport Ireland and the wider sport sector. The funding announced by the Ministers provides certainty in planning and stability as the sport sector continues to reopen and we look forward with positivity and optimism as the sport at large gets back on its feet.”

“Research recently published by Sport Ireland shows club membership has remained strong during the pandemic, with the numbers participating in sport and physical activity increasing as the year goes on,” added Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy.

“That said, there are still considerable challenges ahead for sports organisations and clubs in encouraging all members and volunteers to return, as well as attracting new participants. The financial impact of the pandemic also continues to be a challenge for many, with losses and additional costs putting a strain on finances.”

“That is why this injection of funding at all levels of sport is necessary and welcome. We thank Ministers Martin and Chambers and look forward to continuing our close working relationship with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnership to get sport back on track.”

Join us tomorrow morning for more reaction and a considered opinion on what the Government has done.


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