Government to fund Ireland women’s team through third party
€200k of overall funding of €2.7m will be released through accountancy firm BDO
Ireland’s Katie McCabe in action against USA’s Tobin Heath during the friendly international at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Photograph: Gary A Vasquez/Inpho/USA Today
The Government is to provide the almost €200,000 in funding that is due to the FAI in support of the women’s national team, but the money is to be handled by accountancy firm BDO, with the payment being made on the basis that none of it will at any stage end up in an association bank account
The move, which was announced in a statement on Wednesday afternoon, is a rare piece of good news for the association on the day when major sponsor Three announced that it will not be renewing its deal next summer.
But the terms attached are something of an embarrassment with BDO set to oversee and be accountable for the funding of a small part of the association’s core operations.
It is nevertheless the first tangible sign of a softening in the position taken by Minister for Sport Shane Ross over public funding of the game. Ross had repeatedly linked the restoration of government support – worth around €2.7 million per annum, of which a little over a million is understood to have been outstanding for 2019 – to the departure of senior figures from the John Delaney era, most obviously association president Donal Conway and his fellow director John Earley.
In his department’s statement, however, the Minister observes that: “There is no reason why the mistakes of the FAI top brass should be borne by innocent players” and the hope among the association’s affiliates and staff will be that that reasoning is ultimately extended to the various other programmes whose funding has been hit.
The €195,000 involved in this instance will be used to support players involved in the women’s senior team and is intended to be used to cover travel and other expenses incurred around training and games.