Kerr and Quinn to launch policy document on funding of Irish football

Paper advocates using 12.5 per cent of betting tax to fund the grassroots game

Newly appointed FAI deputy chief executive Niall Quinn. Photograph: Tom Honan

Newly appointed FAI deputy chief executive Niall Quinn. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Brian Kerr and newly appointed FAI deputy chief executive Niall Quinn are to launch a policy document on the funding of Irish football with Aodhán Ó Ríordáin at a public meeting in Raheny United at 8.30pm on Thursday.

The Dublin Bay North Labour Party candidate has drawn on the pair’s expertise in putting together the document which advocates the use of 12.5 per cent of revenue from the State’s betting duty to fund the grassroots game, improve participation rates and overhaul football’s infrastructure.

The proposal would have meant funding of €11.875 million in 2019 when the tax, which had just been doubled to 2 per cent, yielded a total of €95 million.

The document appears to reflect many of the causes that Kerr and Quinn have championed, although rather than handing the money to the FAI much of the funding, Ó Ríordáin suggests, would be channelled through an autonomous office to specifically targeted sectors.

“It is suggested,” the document says, “that the State provide ring-fenced funding for grassroots, underage and community initiatives through a new management structure.

“Funding would focus on social inclusion, gender equality, anti-racism and integration. It is anticipated that actors within football will come forward with this model, and the State’s role will be to support and evaluate it [rather than initiate and develop it]”.

It cites examples where a similar system is already said to have operated, with that list including “The Sunderland Foundation”.

It goes on to list improved education for League of Ireland players, an increase in the number of co-funded community-based coaches and substantial investment in the women’s game as being amongst the priorities identified.

Starting point

The proposal to provide funding from the betting tax as a starting point for the strategy is likely to prove popular within football.

Though there was no direct correlation between the two it has rankled with many within the Irish game that the roughly €50 million raised in duty (it was €52.9 million in 2018) before the higher rate was introduced could be seen as paying the best part of the €65 million paid out each year through the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund.

The latter amounts to a very substantial subsidy to the racing industry which has traditionally viewed the revenue from betting taxes as its preserve despite the very great changes that have taken place in the betting landscape, primarily in relation to the vastly increased share of the market that is devoted to gambling on football.

As things stand the Government is making a “profit” on the betting tax of around €30 million – something it may well argue is going towards the wider funding of sport in its various forms – but football does seem to have a very strong case to be awarded a substantial slice of that pie at a time when there is a general acceptance that it has been underfunded.

If it gets it, though, there are a number of other sports that feature prominently in the betting markets who might just feel they should be given their shares too.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.