The Federation of Irish Sport welcomes Friday’s announcement by government on further easing of restrictions for Sport and Physical Activity. This is an important and positive step forward for many of our members who have faced immense challenges over the past 15 months.
In particular, the Federation is pleased to see the introduction of test case events for the return of spectators across the summer months and the resumption of indoor sport and physical activity from July 5th.
The Federation will continue to work with Minister Chambers, his department colleagues and Sport Ireland on further progress and supports for the sector as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. For now, please find further information on the newly introduced measures here https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/7894b-post-cabinet-statement-resilience-and-recovery-the-path-ahead/
We wish all our members a safe and positive return to activity over the coming weeks
- 86% of NGBs describe the economic impact of COVID-19 as ‘Negative’ or worse.
- 74% of NGBs have availed of at least one government financial support.
- 53% of LSPs will require ongoing financial support to return to full capacity.
- 57% believe COVID-19 will result in a permanent loss of sports volunteers.
- Report focuses on Economic and Social impact as well as impact on progress made and the future outlook of those within sector.
Today, 27th of May 2021, The Federation of Irish Sport are pleased to release an important report on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Sport and Physical Activity sector in Ireland. The report illustrates findings of a survey conducted with Federation of Irish Sport member National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships and highlights the significantly challenging circumstances of many Irish sporting bodies as a result of the pandemic. The Federation is hopeful that the insight provided in the report will assist in shaping further economic and social supports for the sector.
Speaking about the report, Federation of Irish Sport Chairperson Clare McGrath said, ‘This report was a significant and important piece of work for the Federation and our members. It demonstrates the immense challenges being faced by our sporting bodies and just how damaging the pandemic has been economically and socially. However, it also highlights the resilience and positivity of those working in the sector and their views on what is needed to emerge from the pandemic stronger.’
Federation CEO Mary O’Connor added, ‘In 2020 the government provided much needed financial support to the sector in the form of a €70m resilience package. This report showcases just how many bodies relied on such supports for survival and demonstrates that with continued support, the sector can recover and return to its pre-pandemic strengths. We have shared the findings of this work with Minister Jack Chambers and his department and look forward to working with the Minister to address some of the key aspects highlighted by the report’.
National Sports Policy Progress & Minority Groups
While the impact of COVID-19 on the sector has been widely spoken about in recent months, the Federation’s report provides a more detailed understanding of the social impact on the various groups accessing sport and physical activity. Despite previously published insights stating a rise in adults being physically active in Ireland and 65% of NGBs offering activities that target minority groups, 69% of NGB respondents believe that such groups, as outlined in the National Sports Policy, have been disproportionately affected by the restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19.
Furthermore, 36% of NGBs have seen a drop of 50% or more in their membership numbers with both adults and underage members being impacted in largely equal measure. These insights are concerning both now and for the long term progress of the sector as a whole. Such developments stand to potentially impact on the progress of the National Sports Policy objectives unless supported appropriately.
The Federation has long championed the importance of sports volunteers and noted throughout 2020 just how resourceful many volunteers had been in supporting their communities when sport ceased. Thus, it is particularly concerning to see that 57% of NGBs believe that the pandemic will result in a permanent loss of volunteers from sport. Without such diligent and hardworking volunteers, many sporting organisations would not exist. While the financial impact has been grave for many, recovery efforts would be further hampered by the loss of invaluable volunteers.
More positive aspects of the report include that 67% of Local Sports Partnerships believe their organisation possesses the reliance and governance structures to survive the effects of COVID-19. Furthermore, the Federation is encouraged by the innovation and adaptation shown by sporting organisations, 91% of whom have adapted activities to some form of digital delivery. While it is positive to see 43% of people ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that they will rebound to pre-pandemic strength, it is noteworthy that 79% believe this is rebound needs to be financially supported.
The Federation of Irish Sport would like to thank the University of Limerick and in particular, Helen Purtill for her support in collating and analysing the findings of the survey.
The Federation would also like to thank the 50 members (35 NGBs and 15 LSPs) who contributed to the findings.
The survey of members was conducted in May 2021.
Full report can be found at: https://www.irishsport.ie/covid-19-impact-report/
Sport Ireland wish to notify NGBs, LSPs and other funded bodies that the updated Sport Ireland Return to Sport COVID-19 eLearning Course is now available on our website.
The course, which can be publically accessed on the Sport Ireland website here (https://www.sportireland.ie/covid19/course), aims to continue supporting administrators, volunteers, coaches and participants to return to sport in a safe & practical manner. The course is structure similarly to the previous version with additional lessons included to reflect updated guidance. Funded Bodies are encouraged to share the course with their affiliates, clubs and members through their direct communication & social media channels.
This e-Learning course should be completed and interpreted in conjunction with the Governments latest public health measures provided at www.gov.ie/coronavirus along with the public health advice provided on the Health Service Executive Coronavirus webpage
Updated Sport Ireland COVID-19 eLearning Course Content:
- Introduction to the Sport Ireland COVID-19 Return to Sport e-Learning Course
- Protect yourself and others from COVID-19
- Hand hygiene
- Equipment hygiene
- Face coverings
- COVID-19 Medical Considerations for Sports Activities
- Safe Return to Sport and Physical Activity Checklist
- Recommendation for specific populations
- Stay Safe in the Outdoors
- Sport Ireland COVID-19 Officer Return to Sport e-Learning Course
- Recording Attendance at Activities
- How to manage a participant with COVID-19 symptoms?
- Stay Informed
Contact & Queries:
Any general queries in relation Covid19 should be directed to either the NGB or LSP Units at Sport Ireland directly.
Please find below additional information in relation to the recent government announcements provided by Sport Ireland.
- From May 10th outdoor training for adults in pods of a maximum of 15 people can return. This includes contact training.
- On that basis, outdoor, contact training will also be permitted for those under the age 18 in pods of a maximum of 15 people.
- Outdoor (non-elite & club) matches and competitions may recommence on June 7.
- Such competition must take place without spectators.
- Sports that do not have a fixed number of competitors (i.e. non team sports) should engage directly with Sport Ireland to discuss the capacity requirements of their individual sports.
- Indoor facilitates such as gyms, swimming pools & sports / leisure centres can reopen from June 7th for individual training.
- The Return to Sport Expert Group has developed guidance for sports bodies in relation to the delivery of this individual training. The most recent version of this guidance is attached.
- Final information in relation to capacity levels within indoor facilities is still to be confirmed. Sport Ireland welcomes submissions from indoor sports with regards to the capacity requirements of their individual sports.
Individual Indoor Training May 2021
The Federation welcomes yesterday’s announcement that outdoor based sport and physical activity for adults can recommence from May 10th. We also welcome the pathway outlining increased opportunities for primarily indoor based sporting activities to begin from June 7th. After a challenging 15 months for all within the sport and physical activity sector, the publication of the pathway is an important tool for all organisation’s planning for the weeks and months ahead.
While this is a positive step, the Federation is acutely aware of the ongoing concerns of many members, particularly those whose activities are predominantly indoor, We will continue to work with our members to voice their challenges over the coming weeks and months as we hope to see further successful easing of restrictions and a greater resumption of activity in line with the planned pathway as the vaccine rollout continues. We thank Minister Jack Chambers and his department officials for their ongoing efforts to support the sport and physical activity sector and we will continue to engage over the coming weeks.
The Federation of Irish Sport recognises the need for continued focus on public health measures and fully appreciates the seriousness of the situation since December. However, we are concerned on how little detail was available on the reopening of sport and physical activity in the Government’s “Living with COVID” plan announced yesterday. As we have said on many occasions, we firmly believe that Sport and Physical Activity in all its forms is going to play a crucial role in restoring both the physical and mental health of the country as we come out of lockdown. While we would not expect a plan to include specific dates at this point in time, we strongly believe that a strategy, and indeed Roadmap, for the reopening of sport, beyond the definitions allowed for at level 5 would have provided a much needed lift for all.
The Federation and its members have expressed concerns about the underlying issues created and fostered by this pandemic and associated restrictions. The absence of sport and physical activity are most certainly contributing to issues of isolation, mental health, physical inactivity, social inclusion issues and access to sport for people with a disability. We have always stressed that Sport and Physical Activity must be part of the long-term solution to the pandemic and we understand that Government shares that view. However, we need to see this perspective included in government plans moving forward and a clear outline of when our organisations, and their clubs can return to supporting the health and wellbeing of their communities in a meaningful way.
We strongly believe that a roadmap that sets out the Government’s thinking on the phased reopening of all sport and physical activity is essential and that it be published as soon as possible, if only to demonstrate the Government’s commitment to the role that sport and physical activity can and will play as we exit this pandemic.
While that is our priority, we would also hope that Government gives every consideration as to how organized sport will need to be funded beyond when the sector re-opens. In that context the Federation must acknowledge the government financial supports to date which have been welcomed by all in sport. The resilience and recovery package delivered in 2020 was a light at a very dark time for many sporting bodies. However, those supports did not factor in a longer term set of restrictions and it is imperative now that further supports are considered for sporting bodies, of all size, in the governments forthcoming National Recovery and Resilience Plan.