The Federation is also calling for funds from the Sweetened Sugar Drinks Tax and Betting Tax to be redirected to sport to tackle the obesity problem and implement educational programmes

SEPTEMBER 23rd, 2020: The Federation of Irish Sport is today calling on the government to ensure the survival of sport and physical activity in Ireland by honouring the commitments made in the National Sports Policy 2018-2027 in respect of the current funding levels for sport. The call was made in the Federation’s pre-budget submission, which highlights the need for such commitments to be met following the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had on Irish sports’ finances.

While the business and employment supports made available by government, coupled with the sport-specific rescue package of €70m announced in June, assisted in keeping organisations afloat, the Federation states that further investment is now needed to ensure that organisations not only survive, but are able to adapt, rebuild and grow in 2021. Sport is an important business sector in Ireland contributing approximately 1.4% of Gross Value Added, generating €2.7 billion in household spending per annum and employing 39,5000 people.

Participation in sport also plays a key role in maintaining physical and mental well-being, which is important not only in the battle against Covid-19, but also in reducing health spend on chronic illnesses and death caused by inactivity, with 62% of the Irish population overweight or obese, costing our health service an estimated €1.5 billion each year. It is estimated that there are 4,000 preventable deaths in Ireland every year due to physical inactivity.

In addition to a call to increase current funding to sport, the pre-budget submission also seeks €1.35 million, or 4.5%, of the proceeds of the Sweetened Sugar Drinks Tax be redirected to fund a specific campaign to tackle the obesity problem in Ireland. The Federation is also requesting that the Government invests €2.34 million, or 4.5%, of the increase to the Betting Tax, to develop and implement communication and educational programmes on the importance of sport and the protection of those at risk from gambling in our sporting community.

Mary O’Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, said: “Earlier this year, we welcomed the introduction of the Covid-19 Resilience Fund for Sport and Physical Activity announced by Government. However, as the pandemic continues to permeate every element of society, it is imperative that National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships and clubs all around the country continue to receive financial investment from Government. At a time when all other sources of revenue are under sustained pressure, Government investment in sport has never been so important. This investment is necessary to ensure the continued delivery of sports programmes nationwide and the benefits to health, wellbeing and community solidarity that this will bring.”

The Federation of Irish Sport’s full pre-budget submission can be read at:



For further information, please contact:

Claire Shannon, Wilson Hartnell claire.shannon@ogilvy.com 087 126 0924

Mary McGuire, Wilson Hartnell mary.mcguire@ogilvy.com 087 951 6651


About Irish Sport:

Sport’s share of the economy
Sport contributes approximately 1.4% of Gross Value Added in Ireland. It employs 39,500 individuals (1.7% of total employment).
Sport in Ireland also generates €2.7 billion in household spending per annum

Value of sports volunteering
The economic value of volunteering for sport is approximately €1.1 billion per annum. This figure is based on the average industrial wage.

Sports tourism
Sports tourism
is worth approximately €500million per year to Ireland. This figure rises in years where the country hosts major international sports events.

Government return
Recent research by the European Commission suggests that the State may recoup up to €195 in tax revenue for every €100 invested in sport-related activity. Such a return on investment is clearly very attractive, the same European Commission research concluded that an active sport-related economic policy can help counter unemployment. This in stark contrast to the previous estimation of every €100 in State investment in sport in Ireland, the Exchequer receives €149 back in taxes.

Health cost
Investment in sport can help reduce public health expenditure.
Department of Health research states that 62% of the population are overweight or obese. This is estimated to cost the State over €1.5 billion annually. Separate research has estimated that there are 4,000 preventable deaths in Ireland each year due to physical inactivity.

About the Federation of Irish Sport

The Federation of Irish Sport is the representative organisation for the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) in Ireland. Its membership consists of over 100 NGBs and LSPs from every corner of the country.