Encouraging Schoolboy Soccer


Sir, - Your editorial of July 27th headed "Soccer Starlets" suggests that there is little sense that the State is actively encouraging schoolboy soccer.

For the record the facts are as follows:

The Sports Council and the Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation have decided to focus support to the FAI in 1998 specifically on youth and junior teams, especially those in disadvantaged areas.

So far this year nearly £84,000 has been provided to the FAI by the Department, comprising £18,750 for the Under-21 team, £25,000 for the Under-18 team and £40,000 in support for international competition targeted at youth and junior level.

In addition, the FAI, along with the GAA and the IRFU, has been invited to put forward proposals this year for projects specifically targeted at developing their sport for young people in disadvantaged areas.

Over the past 18 months nearly £2 million has been allocated under the Sports Capital Programme to about 100 soccer clubs towards the building of new facilities or the upgrading of existing facilities.

Proposals have also been invited from development groups in 13 heroin blackspots in deprived areas of Dublin and Cork for the £20 million Young People's Facilities and Services Fund which includes provision for building and upgrading sports facilities in those areas. - Yours, etc., Bart Cronin, Press Officer, Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation,

Kildare Street, Dublin 2.