FAI Welcomes €19m COVID-19 Funding From Government
The Association notes the increased Government funding from 2020 which reflects both the commitment of the whole of the Irish football community to adhering to all COVID-19 protocols across the year and the ongoing organisational transformation of the FAI on and off the field of play.
Welcoming today’s grant from Sport Ireland, FAI CEO Jonathan Hill commented: “On behalf of everyone involved in Irish football, I want to thank Ministers Martin and Chambers, their Government colleagues and Sport Ireland for this latest and most welcome financial support for our game and we look forward to the allocation of these funds to the FAI, the League of Ireland and Women’s National League and Grassroots football.
“The commitment of Government to aid Irish football during the COVID-19 pandemic, both last year and now in 2021, has been vital to sustaining and growing the game at all levels across the country.
“The adherence of all our stakeholders to the Government’s COVID-19 guidelines throughout the pandemic has, I am sure, been reflected in this 45% increase in resilience grant funding to Irish football. That commitment to respecting the Government and FAI protocols at a time when we all just wanted to play football was exemplary and we are thankful to the entire Irish football community for their hard work and indeed patience.
“Today’s announcement is down to the diligence of every player, coach, match official, club officer, volunteer and supporter from international football to League of Ireland and Women’s National League and right across the full spectrum of Grassroots football at adult and schoolboy and schoolgirl level. I also want to thank our own FAI staff for their selfless efforts in this regard.
“We continue to live with the daily effects of COVID-19 and I urge Irish football now to maintain that respect for Government guidelines and FAI protocols in these ongoing, unique and challenging times.”
FAI President Gerry McAnaney said: “This increased financial backing for Irish football is most welcome at a time when all stakeholders are growing our game against the economic and psychological demands of COVID-19. This increase in Government funding reflects the ongoing contribution of our clubs to Irish life at a time when community is more important than ever before. My thanks to Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Ministers Michael McGrath, Catherine Martin and Jack Chambers and all their staff for all their assistance with this grant programme.”
Roy Barrett, Chairperson of the FAI Board, added: “We are very pleased as a Board to see this support from Government which remains critical for the FAI in these difficult times. We were committed as a Board to get the League of Ireland up and running back in the depths of lockdown in March 2021 and our decision then to invest €4m into the League of Ireland and the Women’s National League was vindicated by the record breaking success of the 2021 season and an important message to all of Irish sport and society at the time that we were committed as much as we could be to business as usual. It is encouraging to see Government agree with that move now.”
The FAI has also welcomed the €395,000 allocated to it for the urgent delivery of defibrillators to the Grassroots area. CEO Hill commented: “We specifically requested support from Government and Sport Ireland in this critical area and we are delighted that we will now be able to invest this money accordingly and, indeed we are already talking with the Mrs. Brown’s Boys FAI Heart Care Programme to see how we can best utilise this funding to assist the programme’s work with clubs all across the country to protect players of all ages from Sudden Cardiac Death.”