We are asking the Government as part of Budget 2020 to deliver the second (of ten) phase of core funding this year, to remain online to double funding over the 10-year lifetime of the National Sports Policy 2018–2027, as per Action 45 of that policy. Sport plays an incomparable role in Ireland when it comes to social inclusivity, people and volunteers, health and wellbeing, financial return and community spirit.
The National Sports Policy, launched by Government in July 2018, has the potential to be transformative for every member, organisation and association involved in sports, and is built upon the pillars that we as a country hold dear.
Delivering upon the commitments outlined in the National Sports Policy will showcase that plans are achievable with funding, and programmes aimed at achieving greater participation and diversity and inclusion are achievable when people have adequate support.
It is vital that our members continue to build on the excellent work they have carried out to date. For this to happen, it is critical that the necessary funding is consistently provided on an annual basis, as 25% of LSP’s and 33% of NGB’s cite funding as the single biggest challenge they face in delivering on their objectives.
The Federation of Irish Sport is calling on the Government to redirect 4.2% of overall Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax exchequer returns specifically to combat obesity and increase participation in sport in Ireland, as part of Budget 2020.
The Sugar Sweetened Drinks (SSD) Tax, specifically introduced as a behavioural change measure, has seen the Exchequer benefit to the tune of almost €32m in its first 12 months of application. By allocating €1.35m (just 4.2%) of this revenue stream, Ireland would see a new programme developed and implemented to combat the obesity issue we are experiencing in this country, while increasing participation in sport, a key objective of the National Sports Policy.
The Federation of Irish Sport is calling on the Government to use revenues generated by 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.
The increased betting tax, introduced as part of Budget 2019, is expected to double excise receipts to almost €52m per year. This is a substantial sum which could be used to develop educational programmes to prevent and reduce problem gambling. While participation and support for sporting activity is hugely beneficial in terms of physical, mental and emotional well-being, problem gambling on sporting events is also a huge issue for individuals, families and communities across Ireland.The Federation of Irish Sport is very alive to this issue. However, developing and delivering educational programmes for teenagers, adults and parents who engage with our sporting clubs, requires ongoing resourcing and investment. We are therefore seeking a portion of the Betting Tax revenue to enable our NGBs to develop and deliver dedicated programmes addressing to the threat of gambling.
The Federation of Irish Sport is calling on the Government to ensure that the Sports Capital Programme is open for new applications on an annual basis, and that a measure is put in place to ensure that 1% of every sports capital grant over €250,000 must be used to fund an associated participation project.
In order to continue the growth and development of Irish sport at local level, and for our clubs and athletes to excel on the international stage, it is imperative that the Sports Capital Grant programme is administered on an annual basis, and that it is open for new applications each year. In addition, the ‘Per Cent for Art Scheme’ introduced by the Department of Arts, Heritage and Culture has proven very effective and was recently reviewed to increase its bands and limits. Sport in Ireland, however, has no such scheme. Funding for the Sports Capital Grants was almost €40 million this year. This is incredibly important to building infrastructure and facilities in every community in Ireland and to benefit people in that locality in terms of health, social interaction and physical activity. By committing 1% of any grant over €250,000 into people and programmes means that these state-of-the-art facilities are utilised to engage current members and new audiences.
This will ensure that programmes are developed to increase participation, inclusivity, diversity of gender and ethnic origin.
In order to increase much needed donations to sports capital projects from individuals, the Federation of Irish Sport is calling on the Government to lower the eligibility threshold for capital reliefs on individual donations for sports capital projects to €200.
Currently (under the section 847A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997) a donation is a relevant donation for the purposes of section 847A TCA where it satisfies many conditions, including;
• the donation is the payment of a sum or sums of money amounting to at least €250 in a year of assessment for a donation by an individual; and at least €250 in an accounting period for a donation by a company. Where an accounting period is less than 12 months the €250 is proportionally reduced, e.g. if the accounting period is six months the donation must be at least €125.
Donations can only be accepted for previously granted projects via the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. These projects often require a significant amount of additional funding to complete and equip. If the eligibility threshold for capital reliefs on individual donations to sports capital projects was reduced by 20% this would have a double monetary benefit to sports clubs and associations all over the country, while also increasing possibilities of individuals making more feasible donations of €200 over a 12-month period. Similarly, where the accounting period is less than 12 months, the €200 should be proportionally reduced, e.g. if the account period is three months the donation would only have to be at least €50.
The Federation of Irish Sport is calling on the Government to establish a scheme dedicated to philanthropic financial support for Ireland’s high-performance programme.
BlackGold, a public-private philanthropic initiative was established in New Zealand with a focus on high net-worth kiwis (and international individuals / organisations) who have a passion for sport and who want to invest in New Zealand’s sporting success.
BlackGold matches the passion and interests of potential donors with National Sports Organisation projects, over and above what the Government or Sport New Zealand can fund. It is recognised in the National Sport Policy that Ireland would ‘regard our real competitors as those countries with a population size similar to ours (i.e. less than 10m). New Zealand invested €152.1m in high performance sports funding during the Rio Olympic cycle (2013-2016), compared to Ireland’s investment of €37.6m during the same time period. By establishing a dedicated stream of philanthropic funding specific to High Performance Sport in Ireland, it would excel our facilities, coaches, athletes and associations, delivering increased Olympic and Paralympic success.