24 May 2022

Details of the €70 million Covid-19 fund to help get sports back to play

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Coronavirus Covid-19 has locked up sports venues like O'Moore Park in Portlaoise for months

Details of the €70 million has been allocated as part of a the Covid-19 Resilience Fund for Sport package have been outlined as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that all sport can return to action on June 29. 

This funding package will support the sport sector through;

-   Funding of up to €40m for the three main field sports organisations – the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU

-    A Resilience Fund of up to €10m to support the National Governing Bodies of Sport

-    A Sports Club Resilience Fund of up to €15m to support clubs

-    A Sports Restart and Renewal Fund of up to €5m


·       This additional funding will be invested through four new grant schemes, to be developed by Sport Ireland and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and administered by Sport Ireland.

·       Funding allocations to NGBs and clubs under the new scheme will be determined following a robust grant application and assessment process conducted by Sport Ireland.

·       Sport Ireland will announce an open invitation to applications from funded bodies for assistance under the grant scheme.  

·       The funding will be distributed by Sport Ireland through the National Governing Bodies (NGBs). 

·       The schemes would be designed to ensure that grant aid would only be provided where Sport Ireland is fully satisfied that the funding is absolutely required.

·       Combined funding of up to €40m will be made available to the three main field sports organisations – the FAI, the GAA and the IRFU.  Funding will be allocated on a case-by-case basis and will be a direct response to each NGB’s specific needs with regard to solvency and continued existence.

·       A Resilience Fund of up to €10m will be made available to support the National Governing Bodies who find themselves in need of assistance to avoid closing.

·       A Sports Club Resilience Fund of up to €15m will be made available to support clubs from all of the NGBs.  Again, the clubs will be required to demonstrate that they are in need of assistance to avoid closing.

·       A Sports Restart and Renewal Fund of up to €5m will be made available.  Sports clubs are deemed ineligible for the Government’s Restart Grants scheme (as they are not solely commercial trading entities).  In addition, they have been excluded from Government supports for the community and voluntary sector to cope with the challenge of COVID-19. This Fund will seek to address these exclusions.

The Federation of Irish Sport noted in its appeal for a Resilience Fund for Sport to the government in May that the financial assistance would go a long way in helping sports organisations who are facing particular financial difficulty to get back to business and to adapt to the new reality as restrictions lift. 

"We welcome the government’s acknowledgement of our call for support, and their commitment to investing in sport at local and national level to help Irish sport through this unprecedented emergency and back on to the road to recovery. The Federation will continue to work with its members and Sport Ireland to maximise levels of physical activity and participation in sport in Ireland," said a statement.

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, and the Minister with responsibility for tourism and sport, Brendan Griffin, announced the €70 million had been approved by Government .

Minister Ross said “The sport sector has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and many sporting bodies and clubs are experiencing significant financial challenges. We have had extensive contact with the sector and it is clear that the challenge is enormous and is being felt at every level. While the scale of this package may seem extraordinarily large, it merely reflects the enormity of the challenges being faced by our sporting bodies.

This new funding package will assist our National Governing Bodies of Sport and sports clubs as they prepare to restart their sports under the Government roadmap.  Sporting organisations and clubs are hugely important for the social fabric of every community in the country and we want to ensure that the sector recovers as strongly as possible from the current crisis. The Roadmap accelerations and funding being announced today will ensure the survival of our vibrant sport sector, particularly the network of clubs throughout the country. My officials will now engage with Sport Ireland to design new grant schemes, which will be administered by Sport Ireland.”

Minister Griffin said “Today is the most important day for Sport in this country during my time in this office.  I am delighted that the Government saw fit to respond to the many loud calls for help from our sporting bodies.  The scale of lost revenues, from the smallest of club fundraisers to a sold-out stadium, is breath taking. Today’s package will go a long way to aiding the badly needed recovery.


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