Funding of €5.8m to FAI on hold pending approval by Sport Ireland

A total of €2,389,653 has been allocated to the GAA and €2,250,843 to the IRFU

The €5.8 million in funding will be made available to the FAI for football development programmes, pending approval by the board of Sport Ireland. File photograph: Inpho

Funding of €5.8 million for the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) to support coaching and games development is on hold pending approval by the board of Sport Ireland.

In the announcement of the €40 million investment in the sports sector for 2021, Sport Ireland confirmed their annual investment in the three large field sports - IRFU, GAA and FAI.

A total of €2,389,653 has been allocated to the GAA and €2,250,843 to the IRFU, which supports “vital coaching, games development and technical development programmes”.

As per the memorandum of understanding agreed between the Government and the Football Association of Ireland, €5.8 million in funding will be made available to the FAI for football development programmes, pending approval by the board of Sport Ireland.


"That €5.8 million was a commitment made by the Government to the FAI to meet their needs over the next three years," said John Treacy, chief executive of Sport Ireland. "That will go to the board in May, so it was a timing issue, nothing more than a timing issue.

“Obviously we are working very closely with the FAI in terms of meeting the conditions of the memorandum of understanding, and they’ve made very good progress on that, just to say that, a lot of dialogue going on with the FAI around a lot of that. They’re having their AGM at the end of May to finalise that process, so it’s mainly a timing issue at this particular point in time.”

The €13.8 million for core activity of 59 national governing bodies (NGB’s), the €8,500,000 to support high performance programmes, and the €2.68 million in international carding scheme are effectively unchanged from their 2020 allocation, as was agreed by Sport Ireland once Covid-19 first drove the country into lockdown in March of last year.

However the €9.5 million to support work of 29 local sports partnerships (LSP) is up 15 per cent on 2020 funding: this increase in investment provides an opportunity for Sport Ireland to support a locally led safe return to sport and to further build the capacity of LSPs, increasing their reach and impact across Ireland.


The latest funding announcement follows a year in which the sector has been significantly impacted by Covid-19 restrictions in place since March 2020. According to Sport Ireland, “this funding, in addition to the recently allocated Covid-19 grant scheme, will provide stability and certainty to organisations throughout 2021. In line with previous years, a portion of the core funding budget (‘special projects and programmes’) will be ring fenced to assist with strategically important NGB related events and projects”.

High performance programme funding will also be maintained for 2021 at €8,500,000. 2021 is anticipated to be an expensive year for high performance programmes as there remains a high level of uncertainty around competition and training camp plans due to Covid-19.

Sport Ireland will provide further support in 2021 to address the immediate and confirmed costs to high performance programmes in respect of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. That investment in high performance sport also includes funding of €2.68 million through the international carding scheme, also essentially unchanged from 2020, as was agreed shortly after the shut-down of elite sport due to Covid-19.

The international carding scheme provides financial support to 130 athletes and six Tokyo targeted relays/squads across 16 sports. The primary purpose of this funding is to support Irish athletes in reaching finals and achieving medals at European, World, Olympic and Paralympic level. The level of funding on this scheme has increased from €2.4 million in 2020. The scheme has been amended to account for the challenges faced by athletes and NGBs as a result of Covid-19.

Treacy highlighted the important role of community sport, and the optimism for children’s sport resuming: “now we look forward, toward an Olympic and Paralympic Games, to the reopening of sport and physical activity for the general public and a light at the end of the tunnel. There is cause for optimism as children’s sport and some outdoor activity returns and we look forward to even more opportunities to enjoy sport and physical activity in the months ahead”.

National Governing Body 2020/2021 allocation

Special Olympics Ireland €1,400,000/€1,400,000

Athletics Ireland €1,000,000/€1,000,000

Swim Ireland €950,000/€950,000

Horse Sport Ireland €930,000/€930,000

Basketball Ireland €740,000/€740,000

Irish Athletic Boxing Association €500,000/€500,000

Ladies Gaelic Football Association €485,000/€485,000

Cricket Ireland €480,000/€480,000

Tennis Ireland €450,000/€450,000

The Camogie Association €435,000/€435,000

Cycling Ireland €420,000/€420,000

Irish Sailing Association €410,000/€410,000

Badminton Ireland €390,000/€390,000

Hockey Ireland €340,000/€340,000

Gymnastics Ireland €340,000/€340,000

Rowing Ireland €320,000/€320,000

Golf Ireland €320,000/€320,000

Irish Wheelchair Association Sport €285,000/€285,000

Canoeing Ireland €275,000/€275,000

National Community Games €315,000/€260,000

Mountaineering Ireland €235,000/€235,000

Triathlon Ireland €225,000/€225,000

Volleyball Ireland €210,000/€210,000

Irish Squash €200,000/€200,000

Motor Sport Ireland €180,000/€180,000

Table Tennis Ireland €115,000/€115,000

GAA Handball Ireland €105,000/€105,000

Irish Judo Association €100,000/€100,000

Irish Surfing Association €80,000/€80,000

Pitch and Putt Ireland €80,000/€80,000

Snooker & Billiards Ireland €75,000/€75,000

Diving Ireland €75,000/€75,000

Deaf Sports Ireland €65,000/€65,000

Irish Orienteering Association €65,000/€65,000

Irish Martial Arts Commission €60,000/€60,000

Fencing Ireland €55,000/€55,000

Motor Cycling Ireland €48,000/€48,000

Irish Clay Target Shooting Association €48,000/€48,000

Vision Sports Ireland €48,000/€48,000

Irish Olympic Handball Association €48,000/€48,000

Tug of War Ireland €40,000/€40,000

Irish Tenpin Bowling Association €37,000/€37,000

Bowling League of Ireland €32,000/€32,000

American Football Ireland €32,000/€32,000

Weightlifting Ireland €32,000/€32,000

Bol Chumann na hÉireann €32,000/€32,000

Irish Waterski & Wakeboard Federation €27,000/€27,000

Irish Taekwondo Union €25,000/€25,000

Baton Twirling Sport Association of Ireland €25,000/€25,000

Racquetball Association of Ireland €25,000/€25,000

Irish Amateur Wrestling Association €25,000/€25,000

Rugby League Ireland €20,000/€20,000

Speleological Union of Ireland €20,000/€20,000

Angling Council of Ireland €20,000/€20,000

Archery Ireland - /€15,000

Croquet Association of Ireland €10,000/€10,000

Irish Ice Hockey Association €10,000/€10,000

ONAKAI €10,000/€10,000

Special Projects and Programmes 501,000/541,000

Pentathlon Ireland €20,000/€20,000

Total 13,845,000/13,845,000

Field sports funding 2021

GAA €2,389,653

IRFU €2,250,843

FAI €5,800,000*

High Performance Programme funding 2020/2021

Athletics Ireland €840,000/€840,000

Irish Sailing Association €800,000/€800,000

Irish Athletic Boxing Association €770,000/€770,000

Hockey Ireland €730,000/€730,000

Paralympics Ireland €700,000/€700,000

Horse Sport Ireland €690,000/€690,000

Swim Ireland €630,000/€630,000

Rowing Ireland €620,000/€620,000

Confederation of Golf €450,000/€450,000

Cycling Ireland €440,000/€440,000

Irish Rugby Football Union €300,000/€300,000

Pentathlon Ireland €290,000/€290,000

Triathlon Ireland €250,000/€250,000

Gymnastics Ireland €230,000/€230,000

Tennis Ireland €200,000/€200,000

Cricket Ireland €200,000/€200,000

Badminton Ireland €160,000/€160,000

Irish Judo Association €70,000/€70,000

Canoeing Ireland €50,000/€50,000

Irish Taekwondo Union €50,000/€50,000

Irish Clay Target Shooting €30,000/€30,000

Total €8,500,000/€8,500,000

High Performance Operations and Administration funding

Olympic Federation of Ireland €420,000

Paralympics Ireland €400,000

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics