HIGH PERFORMANCE ISC Announces €6.17m in High Performance grants for 2006

IRISH SPORTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES €6.17 MILLION IN HIGH PERFORMANCE GRANTS FOR 2006

€1.92 million to athletes and teams under the 2006 International Carding Scheme
 €4.25 million to support the performance plans of fifteen “focus” sports
February 8, 2006

“Today’s announcement is part of the Government’s substantial investment in every aspect of sport in Ireland which will be €154 million in 2006. The Irish Sports Council is implementing the recommendations of the Athens Review and is backing up its actions with considerable financial resources. An investment of €6.17 million is substantial by any standard and is focused on supporting potential that can produce long-term sustainable success.” - Minister O’Donoghue
 
The Irish Sports Council today (February 6, 2006) unveiled a comprehensive package of investment into elite sport worth €6.17 million.

Eighteen sports will benefit under the 2006 International Carding Scheme, which has been changed following consultation with governing bodies. Based on agreed criteria eighty senior athletes will receive support under the 2006 Scheme.

Twenty athletes qualify as World Class with a further eight podium-potential athletes being placed on contract by the Irish Sports Council. The crew of the World Rowing silver medal winning lightweight four (Richard Archibald, Paul Griffin, Tim Harnedy, Eugene Coakley) and four Paralympic athletes (Derek Malone, David Malone, John McCarthy and Jason Smyth) have agreed contracts with the Council and the relevant sports organisation with the specific aim of allowing them to concentrate fully on their preparations for Beijing.

One hundred and fifty five (155) young athletes qualify for support in the Junior and Developmental categories. In addition team sports are included for the first time with the Cerebral Palsy soccer squad and three of the international hockey squads meeting the criteria for support in 2006.

Another significant change to the 2006 Scheme is the inclusion of a Performance Incentive Payment, which will trigger additional payments should athletes meet agreed targets in each year. 

The “focus” high performance sports receive €4.25 million in funding to support performance plans. These plans, prepared and implemented by the sports, set out information on training and competition plans, supports required and targets to be met.

Investment in junior and developmental categories has increased by 36% over 2005, rising to €583,000. The number for athletes has gone from 266 to 235 plus four squads from team sports. The overall money or Carding is currently at a level similar to the 2005 outturn with the increased investment focused on supporting the Performance Plans with an additional €650,000. 

As was signalled for some time the International Carding Scheme has been changed. The governing body remains central to the entire system, with criteria reviewed and agreed with each sport. All applications for Carding support are agreed between the athletes and sports in advance of being sent to the Council for consideration, thus ensuring consistency and integration with the Performance Plans.

New aspects of the scheme include contracts for the athletes with the potential to achieve a podium finish at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the introduction of team sports, direct debit payments to athletes and Performance Incentive Payments. All criteria were reviewed with each sport.
 
John Treacy, Chief Executive, Irish Sports Council “The International Carding Scheme has made a significant contribution to elite sport for many years. However, the time was right to make changes so that the Scheme fits better into the new structures in high performance sport. Direct funding of €1.92 million to athletes is very significant and augments the investment in the Performance Plans being operated by the governing bodies on behalf of the athletes”.
 
The Irish Sports Council signed off on the proposal for the establishment of an Irish Institute of Sport on February 7 which will now be submitted to the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism for Government approval. An Advisory Group chaired by Dan Flinter (Chairperson of the Athens Review), prepared the report. It was based on the extensive research and technical work carried out by a second committee, the Strategic Technical Group, chaired by Brian Miller (International Expert in High Performance Sport). This Group was made up of leading international experts in areas such as sports medicine, sports science and coaching. 

The Performance Plans prepared by the sports include specific targets to be met by each athlete. It also identifies the milestone championships in each year.  Some of the key events in 2006 are the World Rowing Championships, Eton, England, September, the PCI World Track and Field Championships, Holland, September, the European Athletics Championships, Gothenburg, August, the European Boxing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, July, the PCI World Swimming Championships, South Africa, December, and the World Cup Hockey Qualifiers (Men, China, April, Women, Rome, April. 

Today’s announcement complements the €7.63 million in grants announced for the 57 national governing bodies of sport in January. The Council budget for 2006 is €40.9 million.

For further information please contact

Paul McDermott  Irish Sports Council  01-8608802, 087-6486295