Niall Quinn calls for State tax incentives to build sports facilities
‘I have seen the difference the availability of sports academies can make’
Former Irish soccer international Niall Quinn with ACCA Leinster chair Jason Murphy. Photograph: Justin Mac Innes/Mac Innes Photography
Niall Quinn, the former Ireland football international and one-time chairman of Sunderland AFC, has called on the Government to introduce a tax incentive scheme to encourage developers to build youth sports academies.
Mr Quinn was speaking at a lunch in Dublin on Friday for the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants.
“There is an opportunity for government to create the right environment for businesses and investors to develop sports academies and facilities in the same way that the construction of hotels and nursing homes were encouraged through property-based taxation measures,” said Mr Quinn.
Successive Irish governments during the Celtic Tiger years encouraged investment in nursing homes and hotels, with schemes that allowed developers to set off much of the development costs against rental income from other properties.
“I believe that such tax schemes could kick-start construction in an area that would not only support the quality of our sports people but also enhance community integration, cohesion and inclusivity.”
Mr Quinn said that during his career as a professional footballer in England, he had witnessed the positive impact that sports academies and similar facilities could have on local communities.
“I have seen the difference that the availability of sports academies can make in the development of young people and how it enables them to grow and develop leadership characteristics. Suitable sports academies and facilities here in Ireland would enable young sports people to develop their skills at home without the need to go abroad.”
He added that while building sports facilities is “not a key government commitment, it should be”.
Jason Murphy, the chairman of ACCA’s Leinster branch, said the Government could kick-start building of sports facilities by following the “blueprint” of the “tried and tested tax incentive schemes from the last construction boom.
Mr Quinn played for clubs including Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland during his professional career. Following his retirement, he also assembled the Irish-based Drumaville consortium that bought Sunderland in 2006, while he has also invested in the hospitality and telecommunications sectors.