Parents react angrily to costs of playing in Irish under-18 hockey trials
IHA say contributions are an essential part of international programmes sustainability
“Unless you have money, kids are being disadvantaged. It’s a totally wrong principle,” said one mother of the contributions.
Serious misgivings have been expressed over the Irish under-18 trials that are taking place this weekend following a letter from the Irish Hockey Association (IHA) to the parents of teenagers who have been asked to take part.
The letter congratulates the teenage boys on being invited to the Irish trial, which takes place at Suttonians School on Sunday, as well as subsequent training camps next year and goes on to outline how the young players can pay for the sessions.
To take part in his weekend’s trial will cost each participant €40, which the letter states is “to be paid on first Trial December 15th”.
Subsequent payments will cost each player between €100 and €150 if they are selected to participate. Some players will not get past the first trial, others could make it to July but miss out on Irish selection.
At each phase the teenagers are being asked to pay the cost on the day. The first session in February costs €100, the second in March/April €150, the third June phase €150 and the tournament in July €100.
In total the teenagers who are chosen to go through from the trial to the tournament are being charged €540 to take part. Included in the schedule are camps, some of which are being run over three days at Easter and during the school’s mid-term break in February.
The cost is drawing anger from parents, who yesterday complained that the principle of charging children €40 for an Irish trial and subsequently participating in Irish training camps with an aspiration to play for Ireland is misjudged.
If only 20 players take part and follow through to July over €10,000 will be handed over to the IHA. It is believed that the girls’ under-18 trials and national sessions are proceeding along the same lines and costs.
“It’s outrageous. That’s a lot of money. Imagine having to rock up for an Irish trial and then having to hand over €40,” said the father of one teenager, who was invited to take part.
“Unless you have money, kids are being disadvantaged. It’s a totally wrong principle,” said the mother of another player adding that it is inviting charges against the sport of being elitist. The parent added the costs of two hockey sticks is €150 per stick as kids at that level want the best equipment, good astro turf shoes come in at over €100 and there is further cost for mandatory gum shields and handguards.
The IHA were yesterday asked to comment on the costs and issued a short statement confirming “that player contributions in hockey, which are structured on a phased basis and ring fenced for each squad, are not a new occurrence and in common with other NGBs and sports are an essential part of the international programmes sustainability”.