Sunday 22 September 2019

Fresh blow as ladies' soccer latest to be hit by FAI row

Sport Ireland confirmed they had received a submission for their Women in Sport programme from the FAI and have explained their current position to Sue Ronan, head of women’s football (stock photo)
Sport Ireland confirmed they had received a submission for their Women in Sport programme from the FAI and have explained their current position to Sue Ronan, head of women’s football (stock photo)

Cliona Foley

Irish women's soccer is the latest of the grassroots sectors to suffer as a result of the ongoing impasse between the FAI and Sport Ireland.

The FAI submitted an application to Sport Ireland's newly revamped 'women in sport' funding scheme, which is designed to support specialist women's sport initiatives.

But they are getting nothing at the moment because Sport Ireland has suspended funding to all elements of the sport until it is satisfied that the football association has sorted out its governance issues.

Sport Ireland confirmed they had received a submission for their Women in Sport programme from the FAI and have explained their current position to Sue Ronan, head of women's football.

This comes in the same week that the Irish senior women made a winning start to their 2021 European Championship qualifying campaign and also got a new manager in Dutchwoman Vera Pauw.

Irish rugby and golf were the biggest winners in the expanded scheme, for which sports have to submit detailed plans and targets.

Sport Ireland has almost doubled its funding, to €3m over the next two years, for the scheme and grants ranged from almost half a million over two years down to €6,000.

Winners

The IRFU (€240,000 for 2019 and 2020) and the new Confederation of Irish Golf (€200,000) benefited the most.

Irish athletics, tennis, gymnastics, hockey and swimming all got €150,000. Basketball, cycling, rowing and triathlon got €100,000 each, with €6,000 to Weightlifting Ireland.

Irish athletics, tennis and cricket (€70,000 across the next two years) are reportedly just about to appoint specific women's sport officers.

Sport Ireland's women in sport lead Nora Stapleton said the funding was awarded strictly on the quality, innovation and sustainability of the submissions.

All applications were scrutinised by four different entities within Sport Ireland (SI), including its grants committee and the SI board.

Asked about the size of funding for women's rugby, a sport still with a relatively small playing population, Stapleton said: "The key thing about the IRFU was that their proposed investment into this initiative was more than €900,000.

"They asked us for over €300,000 and we only awarded them 34 per cent of that, which is only 13 per cent of what they're going to invest, so the return on our investment there should be huge."

Ladies Gaelic football got €80,000 for a proposal centred on refereeing.

Irish boxing, whose female athletes have won so many international medals recently, received €70,000 for their proposal.

Irish Independent

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