The Federation of Irish sport has called for a 'Resilience Fund for Sport' and the creation of a task force to specifically focus on the survival and reignition of sport organisations nationwide
In a statement, issued on behalf of their members, 81 National Governing Bodies and 29 Local Sports Partnerships the federation admitted that there is a start reality on the way for sport bodies nationwide.
"There has been no organised sport in Ireland for 10 weeks. The stark reality is that the knock-on effects of Covid-19 financially for all sports organisations in the country are devastating. Within the last week, we have seen a number of our major team sports talk publicly of losses up to 70% of their turnover. Unfortunately, we are also seeing these type of percentages in revenue losses right across the sporting landscape in Ireland. All sports have been impacted"
While welcoming the setting up of the Return to Sport Expert Group, the Federation believes that in addition to this Group, "sport needs a separate Task Force similar to the one Government has set up for the Tourism Industry. We need innovative thinking, swift action, and investment at local and national level providing business and administrative supports to Irish Sport to help sustain it through this unprecedented emergency and the recovery"
The fact is that many of the 13,000 clubs and sporting organisations in Ireland may not survive the financial impact of Covid-19 without financial assistance. The Federation are calling on the Government to introduce a Resilience Fund for sport immediately.
"While the government are to be commended not alone on their support for the charitable sector but also for the €250 million fund set up for small business, the reality is that sport needs similar support. Sports clubs across all sports are in most cases small businesses as well as social enterprises – in some cases not that small either! It is all too easy to forget that sport in Ireland is today an industry that employs some 40,000 people (supported by some 500,000 volunteers) and which also accounts for €2.7 billion in consumer spending. It also is worth €500 million to our tourism industry.
This at a time when physical activity and exercise has never been as important to maintain both physical and mental well-being. Irish Sport is supporting the Government call in this regard with sports organisations of all types being innovative in their use of digital channels to encourage activity and maintain a sense of community"