Ryder Cup 2027 allocated almost €6m as part of increased budget spend on sport
Sport Ireland funding increased by €36m with big emphasis on Olympic and Paralympic athletes
Almost €6m in funding in the 2021 budget has been allocated to the 2027 Ryder Cup at Adare Manor. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Funding of almost €6 million has been allocated in the 2021 budget to meet existing commitments to Ireland’s hosting of the Ryder Cup 2027 in Adare Manor. The postponement of September’s edition of the tournament between the USA and Europe at Whistling Straits until 2021 had the effect of pushing future matches on by one year.
The positive outcome for the Limerick venue is that the new date in 2027 means the Co Limerick resort will play host to the Ryder Cup’s centenary.
The €6 million is in addition to the Government support measures put in place since March 2020 and outlined in Tuesday’s budget, where Sport Ireland was allocated €104.5 million, an increase of €36 million.
The increase takes into consideration athletes bound for Tokyo next summer, the Olympic Games another Covid-hit world event postponed for a year. Over 50 Irish athletes have already qualified for Japan with more places available when international sport resumes. The funding will go into the high-performance pot and be disbursed through Sport Ireland.
“There will be a significant allocation for the athletes and we want to back them 100 per cent when it comes to Tokyo and the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers on Wednesday. “Part of the increase in allocation was to give certainty to our athletes and so that there is multi-angled funding for them and there is never a cliff edge.”
In broad terms, since March some €40 million has been allocated to the three main field sports (the GAA, IRFU and FAI), while a resilience fund of up to €10 million has also been set up to support other national governing bodies. There is also a sports restart and renewal fund of up to €5 million and dormant accounts funding, generally targeted at hard to reach communities, of €10 million, up by €2 million.
Just when larger stadia will be allowed to open up, neither Minister Chambers nor Minister for Sport Catherine Martin were unable to say. The same health considerations of people gathering both indoors or outdoors applies to sport and entertainment but at Level 3, mass attended events and revenue streams are a long way off.
“If we stabilise the disease. If we move back to levels one and two we have it very clearly planned in the road map there will be plans for bigger stadia where we mitigate risks and try to plan for participation at events,” said Chambers.
“I think that’s really important for sport. There active work ongoing, which means the major sports organisations and Sport Ireland, the input of health advice and also the comparative European context . . . with managing and mitigating risk and looking at the overall health context, if we go back to Level 1 or 2 we have it very clearly outlined.”
Sports Campus Ireland at Abbotstown is to get an increased capital allocation of €9.7 million for 2021. Many of the large infrastructural projects have been completed on the campus, while more work remains to be carried out on a cricket stadium, an outdoor athletics track, indoor and outdoor tennis courts and a velodrome.
While it is sometimes difficult to follow the money, a new round of the sports capital programme is to open for applications shortly with allocations to be made next year, which will progress projects that were allocated funding earlier in 2020.
While the budget is a giveaway phase, a report published earlier this year by the Federation of Irish Sport showed sport was not just a take whatever it can get sector. Conducted by Investec, it estimated that sport contributes 1.7 per cent of total employment in Ireland, or 39,451 jobs and accounts for 2.7 per cent of total personal consumption expenditures in the country.
It also estimated that the economic value of sport volunteerism is up to €1.1 billion per year and the value of sports tourism to be in the region of €500 million annually.
For context, this is a similar level of employment to that of all primary teaching staff in the country (37,341 in 2018/19 according to the Department of Education) and close to three-quarters the number of nurses and midwives employed nationally (53,910 according to Census 2016).
“This is a very considerable investment in sport and builds on the extensive support package provided to address the Covid challenges to NGBs and clubs in 2020,” said Chambers. “The Government recognises that it is currently difficult to forecast the impact the pandemic will have on Irish sport in 2021. The funding will increase core grant funding for our sporting bodies to sustain them through the challenging months to come.”