Kieran Mulvey, Chair of Sport Ireland has raised the prospect that it could be “late summer if at all” before fans all allowed back into sporting stadia.
Speaking in the Sunday Times yesterday Mulvey defended the extension of his and John Treacy’s Sport Ireland tenures on the basis of providing continuity through such difficult times.
We will learn today about the allocation of €70 million of money provided by Government under the Sport Resilience Fund and administered by Sport Ireland.
He defended accusations that they had not done enough to head off the financial challenges at the FAI.
“We are a development organisation for sport,” he said in the article written by Mark Tighe.
“We don’t have regulatory powers and we don’t wish to be a regulator. Sport is covered by two bodies: the Charities Regulator and the Companies Act [overseen by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement]. They have regulatory powers and we don’t.”
He went on to state his belief that it would require the development and roll-out of a vaccine before crowds could return. This will have struck cold fear into the heart of the IRFU in particular who are relying on a turning on of financial revenue through the Guinness 6 Nations in the Spring.
“As much I’d love to be in Croke Park or the Aviva or any other stadium over the next number of months, the opening up of the [GAA] county championships has taught us a lesson,” continued Mulvey. “You are able to control people in stadia, but once they leave and congregate the problem starts. It’s particularly something field sports have to be careful about.”
The comments will also have been heeded in UEFA who continue to make their contingency plans for the staging of the delayed Euro 2020 Finals, including four games in Dublin.
With lockdowns in place across Europe Ireland is far from the only venue that will be in the spotlight but there is expected to be a minimum level of potential fan engagement that will provide consistency for fans that may wish to travel.
The planned European Cross Country Athletics Championships were scheduled to be staged at the Sport Ireland Campus in December but were pulled because of concerns over the government’s at the time more stringent application of restrictions.
GAA president John Horan also hinted at a very different 2021 season on Morning Ireland this morning. “We are considering plans for 2021 but we will not be starting in the traditional window of the end of January,” he said after completing the draw for the All Ireland Qualifier series in Hurling.
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