Sunday 19 November 2017

Sports bodies face new code or cut in funding

Minister Patrick O’Donovan Picture: Tom Burke
Minister Patrick O’Donovan Picture: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Sporting organisations are to have their State funding withdrawn unless they sign up to a new governance code, the Irish Independent can reveal.

New rules to be introduced by Junior Minister for Sport Patrick O'Donovan will force governing bodies to follow strict guidelines relating to personnel, finances and decision-making.

Sixty-five organisations ranging from household names like the GAA and IRFU to smaller bodies like those overseeing hockey and basketball received taxpayer money totally €27m this year.

The funding is allocated through Sport Ireland which co-ordinates the sustainable development of competitive and recreational sport.

Currently, seven of the bodies under its remit are signed up to an 87-page voluntary code of governance requiring them to establish certain audit committees, have a succession plan for directors and provide suitable training for board members.

Mr O'Donovan said the remaining organisations would have to embrace the document or face having their funding cut.

"The cost for public investment now is probity and transparency. We've seen it in the health service, we've seen it in the charity sector. I don't want to see the situation where we have a problem in sport before we address it," he said.

"It will be a requirement for funding from the State. We can't force people to say they are going to sign up to this but I would expect everybody will.

"There's nothing in it that organisations shouldn't want to do anyway."

The minister will tell a Sport Ireland conference tomorrow that organisations with upwards of 10 staff will have to agree to the rules by January 1, 2019. Smaller ones will have a deadline of January 1, 2020.

Irish Independent

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