FOOTBALL ISC Announces €3m Investment in FAI programmes

Irish Sports Council announces €3 million grant to the F.A.I.

Investment supports the Technical Development Plan of the F.A.I. with an emphasis on sports participation initiatives for young people

November 8, 2006

The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr John O'Donoghue T.D., announced an allocation of €3 million from the Irish Sports Council to the Football Association of Ireland for 2006, an increase of €1 million on the 2005 allocation.

The investment supports the Technical Development Plan, with a particular emphasis on participation in soccer at underage level. The additional investment will allow the F.A.I. expand its work with those groups who are traditionally less active such as women and other special needs sectors.

Minister O'Donoghue made the announcement at a visit to Pearse Street Community Centre where he commented “The FAI is committed to creating more quality opportunities for young people in sport. In particular they bring their sports programmes into communities they require intensive investment of financial and human resources but which have produced remarkable results. We all accept that sport can have a positive impact on community life and the FAI must be applauded for their excellent work in many disadvantaged  areas around the country” . 

Mr Ossie Kilkenny, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council said, “The Irish Sports Council has set ambitious targets for increasing participation n sport in the population generally. Football in Ireland can make an enormous contribution to those targets. We are confident that our investment in the F.A.I. will produce results especially in target groups that are difficult to bring into sport and physical activity”.

The Chief Executive of the F.A.I., Mr John Delaney, said; “We acknowledge the contribution of the Irish Sports Council to the implementation of the Technical Plan. Everyone within the Association is committed to the Plan and I want to pay tribute to everyone within the game who work so hard to ensure it is a success…….”

Irish Sports Council Chief executive Mr John Treacy said:  “The Council recognises the success of the F.A.I. in recent years such as the Women in Sport projects, Summer Soccer Schools, Futsal, Buntús, and Football for All. These programmes brings sport directly to large numbers of our target groups and we believe that the successful implementation of the Technical Plan will have major long term benefits for football, and sport in general in Ireland”.

The FAI’s Technical Development Plan was launched in 2004 and is being rolled out under the guidance of Technical Director Packie Bonner. The Irish Sports Council strongly endorses the Plan which draws all aspects of the Association’s work together and sets out how the Association will meet the challenge of delivering quality sports programmes to all its potential participants. 

Today’s announcement brings to €11.33 million the total allocated to the F.A.I. by the Irish Sports Council since 2001 for the encouragement of greater underage participation in the three major field sports, supporting the Council's central strategic objective of increasing opportunities to participate in sport, particularly for school aged children.

This investment is separate to the €250,000 funding announced earlier in the year in respect of Women’s Football. The FAI made a significant announcement regarding the Women’s Development Plan at the Pearse Street event.

FAI Launch Women’s Regional Development Officers & FAI Scholarship Recipients

The appointment of four Women's Development Officers to drive implementation of the Women's Development Plan further increases the FAI's presence in the football community and provides strong evidence of the Association's commitment to the development of the Women's Game. Moyia Parke, Eithne Lydon, Eoin Killackey and Carol Murphy have each been given responsibility for specific geographic regions and also for different programme elements of the plan. Their work is being co-ordinated by National Co-ordinator for Women's Football Susan Ronan under the overall direction of Women's Unit Manager, Noel King.
The creation of FAI Women’s Scholarships is a specific objective of the 'Emerging Talent' programme of the Women's Development Plan and is seen as providing a tremendous opportunity to support elite players who wish to continue their football development in tandem with their academic endeavours within Ireland. The four recipients of the inaugural programme - Meabh De Burca, Niamh Fahey, Kacey O'Driscoll and Aoife Herbert have each been capped at underage level and both Kacey and Meabh have already broken into the senior squad. The scholarships provide a huge range of benefits for the recipients which will facilitate their continued development as players and coaches

Highlights of 2006 Funding from the Irish Sports Council to the Football Association of Ireland  


- Buntús soccer programme to 350 primary and special needs schools with the Buntús soccer programme in LSP areas.  To train new and retrain all Buntús soccer tutors.

- 15 FAI Kick Start 1 Coach Education programmes in third level Teacher Training Colleges

- Support the development of soccer programmes within disability groups and for those with special needs such as the homeless

- Support the CPSI to host the Cerebral Palsy European Soccer Championships in Dublin this summer

- 185 Summer Soccer Schools countrywide targeting 17,000 children

- Futsal Inner City Programme in 40 disadvantaged areas in Dublin, Limerick & Cork particularly in the Inner Cities

- Ethnic minority integration project to combat racism and sectarianism and to provide soccer as a method of social inclusion


- Train and retain referees at all levels

- Attract, train and retain volunteers to the game through a programme of promotion and education

- 2,000 participants qualified under the Kick Start 1 & 2 and to run a full range of coach education courses from Youth to UEFA A level

- 14 goalkeeping Intro courses and 1 Goalkeeping B Level course

- Work closely with NCTC to quality assure all courses

Player Education

- Operate the FAI/FÁS training programme for talented players between 16 and 18 in four venues nationally and to investigate the delivery of a female only course in Dublin

- Non-senior international programme for both men & women

- Provide technical analysis resources, support systems and expertise to all Units within the FAI

- Pilot a programme to ensure a development pathway for emerging talent from 11 – 17 year old players through the provision of further training at local, league and provincial level

2006 Costs

Income Expenditure Remainder Council Contribution
Grassroots Football €1,346,650 €2,808,650 €1,462,000 €1,400,000
FAI Education €508,330 €1,202,272 €693,942 €600,000
Player Development €580,800 €3,214,141 €2,633,341 €500,000
Central & Regional Development €311,350 €2,253,608 €1,942,258 €500,000
Total €2,747,130 €9,478,671 €6,731,541 €3,000,000

The net cost to the FAI of operating this wide range of programmes is in excess of €6.7m, supported by the Council’s investment of €3 million.