Federation budget submission also calls on government to extend donations tax relief to current spend
The Federation of Irish Sport in their pre-budget submission on behalf of all Irish sport has made two requests of Government. The Federation announced details of their submission at a briefing in Trinity College Dublin earlier this morning Wednesday 8th October. At the briefing the they also announced that Dublin GAA star Bernard Brogan was to be the first President of the Federation.
In their submission the Federation called on the Government to return the current funding for sport as distributed through the Irish Sports Council to the Federation’s 100 plus members, back to 2011 levels by 2016. They also called on the government to extend the tax relief currently in place for donations to sporting bodies in connection to capital projects to items of current spend.
In calling on the government to reinstate current funding to 2011 levels the Federation acknowledged the commitment that government had given to sport in recent budgets and in particular the €40 million the government had given to sports capital projects in the last budget.
They noted that the 9% reversal of the cuts imposed on current funding since 2011 is slightly ahead of anticipated growth rates for the next two years (7.5%). The Federation however believe the €4.4 million increase over two years is however a modest, prudent and realistic increase given not just the 27% decrease in current funding for sport over the last 6 years but the role sport plays in the economic and social life of our country.
The Federation outlined that any increase in the current funding for sport could benefit all of Ireland’s people. The additional monies will allow sport continue to target the 12.6% of Ireland’s population that remain inactive a well as support the 2.5 million that do participate.
The monies would also go to preparing not just the established athletes as they seek to qualify for Rio but ensure those already in development squads eyeing up 2020 & 2024 with the coaching, training and support they require to be the best they can be flying the flag for Ireland right around the world as they do it.
Speaking at the launch, the Federation’s CEO Sarah O’Connor said “Rio 2016 is now right around the corner. 2015 is qualification year in most sports for both the Olympic & Paralympic Games. In truth it is not just Rio on the horizon but Tokyo and even future games whose locations have yet to be determined. Developing sport both at grassroots and high performance levels is a continuous process and consistent investment is crucial”.
“A reversal of a portion of the cuts imposed on current funding as a result of the recession is now vital to ensure that our existing athletes are adequately prepared as they launch into Olympic & Paralympic qualification but also that efforts to grow grassroots participation can continue. Whilst the Irish Sports Monitor 2013 published last week had a lot of very positive findings particularly, in relation to women and those over 65 however, there were also reductions in participation levels amongst certain sections of the population showing that participation in sport is not something that can ever be taken for granted”.
The Federation has also asked Government to extend the tax relief currently in place for donations to sporting bodies in connection to capital projects to items of current spend. Irish Sport does want to help itself an in this regard, is looking to Government to assist in the development of a culture of private sector investment in sport. Irish Sport is the only contributor to the not for profit sector not to benefit from a tax relief on “current spend”.
The type of programmes that would benefit from this relief should it be introduced would include programmes that bring different sports to new places; that support our existing and developing athletes as well as programmes that can target hard to reach members of our communities; that can develop our coaches and look after our athletes.
This works for sport overseas. In the US, on average 25% of a university athletic programme is funded by private donations. The Australian Sports Foundation has raised AUS$230m since 1986 whilst BC Sport rose CAN$ 1.2m in 2013.
The Federation of Irish Sport believe that a developed culture of giving to sport has the potential to make a real and lasting positive impact on the development on sport in this country. It has been estimated that up to €100 million per year across all sports at all levels could be generated within 10 years.
SARAH O’CONNOR, CEO,THE FEDERATION OF IRISH SPORT – 086 804 8446