The Sport Ireland Bill published at the end of August is the most significant piece of legislation directly impacting on sport since the Irish Sports Council Act setting up the Irish Sports Council Act was passed in 1999.

One of the motivations behind the legislation is to facilitate the merger of the Irish Sport Council with the National Sports Campus Development Authority – the state agency charged with the development, management and operation of the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown. However, the proposed Bill does also make some subtle changes to the overall functions of the two bodies when they come together under the “Sport Ireland” banner.

In the main, the legislation provides for the governance, operation and administration of the new body. However we have set out below a summary of the developments from the existing regime.

  1. Functions of Sport Ireland

The role of Sport Ireland in relation to the development of coaching and tutors at all levels in sport tin co-operation with sporting bodies is specifically mentioned which, was not the case in the 1999 Act. There is also more detail in relation to the proposed functions regarding anti-doping when compared with the previous legislative regime.

Sport Ireland is also to have a role in disseminating information around competitive sport and recreational sport as well as encouraging sponsorship in competitive and recreational sport. The Bill also makes provision allowing the Minister to assign additional functions to Sport Ireland.

It would also appear that there is to be an increased role for the Minister in relation to research with the research to be carried out by the new body to be done on the direction of the Minister.

  1. Sponsorship & Donations

The Bill also provides that Sport Ireland cannot enter into a sponsorship contract or take a gift that would be inconsistent on Government policy or any of its functions.

  1. Service Agreement

In a new development there is to be a service agreement to be entered into between Sport Ireland and the Minister setting out the tasks to be carried out by the new body.

The timing of the proposed enactment of the Bill should become apparent when the legislative programme for the Autumn is published on 17th September. However, we understand that the it is intended that Sport Ireland will become operational as of 1st January 2015.

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